France shooting probe focuses on paratroopers
"Is it because they had come back from Afghanistan? Is it because they came from visible minorities? We don't know," Sarkozy asked about the paratroopers who were killed.
The French Defense Ministry has said the paratroopers didn't serve in Afghanistan, but one family says their son did. Other families have refused to comment on the topic.
France is holding a two-pronged presidential election on April 22, with a runoff expected May 6, in which issues about religious minorities and race have gained prominence. Sarkozy, a conservative, is known for his hard line against increased immigration.
Sarkozy also met Tuesday with members of France's Jewish and Muslim community. France has western Europe's largest population of both Jews about half a million and Muslims about 5 million.
The terror threat level was raised to scarlet across a swath of southern France the highest level since the four-point system was created in 2003.
In Toulouse, France's bustling fourth city, streets were emptier than normal. In one main square, Place Wilson, a dozen police officers were on patrol, some guarding the subway entrance.
In Paris, police bearing automatic weapons stood in front of Jewish schools.
"It's impossible not to imagine the worst, because it can happen to any child in France," said Mendy Sarfati, a father dropping his three children off at a Jewish school in Paris. "We want to put this drama behind us and for the French Republic to draw lessons from it."
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