TOULOUSE, France (AP) -- A motorcycle assailant opened fire with two handguns Monday in front of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two young sons and a schoolgirl. One of the same guns was fired in other deadly motorcyle attacks in the area in recent days, officials said.
Authorities ordered increased security at schools and synagogues around the country after an attack that drew high-level uproar in Israel and revolted France, where school shootings and deadly attacks on Jews are extremely rare.
France is particularly sensitive toward the Jewish community because of its World War II past of abetting Nazi occupiers deport Jewish citizens.
News that the gun was used in attacks last week in the Toulouse area that fueled suspicions that a serial killer on the loose is targeting French minorities, and not only Jews.
A police official said the same powerful 11.43-caliber handgun used in Monday's attack on a school in Toulouse was used in an attack four days ago that killed two paratroopers in nearby Montauban, and in an attack that killed a paratrooper eight days ago in Toulouse. The dead and injured were all of North African and Caribbean origin.
All three times, the attacker came on a motorcycle, apparently alone, and then sped away.
In Monday's attack, the killer also used a 9-caliber gun, the police official said. At least 15 shots were fired at the school in a residential neighborhood in northeastern Toulouse, the official said. The official, based in Paris, was not authorized to speak publicly and asked that he not be identified by name.
French prosecutors were studying possible terrorist links but the motive for all three attacks was unclear. The emotion over the school attack that cut down young children prompted high-level discussions in Israel, where the rabbi had recently lived.
"This is a day of national tragedy because children were killed in cold blood," President Nicolas Sarkozy said after rushing to Toulouse.