Police enter suspected killer’s Toulouse home; Netanyahu visits victims’ families

JTA

JERUSALEM — Hours after Israeli Prime Minister paid a condolence visit to the Sandler family’s home in Jerusalem, French police reportedly entered the home of the suspected killer.

Police on early Thursday afternoon reportedly entered the Toulouse home of Mohammed Merah, where he has been holed up since early Wednesday morning when police surrounded the home. AFP is reporting that police inside the home have not yet seen Merah, saying that “he has not shown himself.

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Three explosions were heard outside the apartment building shortly before police entered.

It is suspected that Merah has committed suicide, since he has not been in contact with police since Wednesday night. Merah has been in contact with the police early Wednesday when he reportedly had agreed to turn himself later in the day before abruptly cutting off communication with police; he later resumed contact for a short time.

The suspect’s brother and mother reportedly were arrested, and two police officers were injured in a shootout outside the home, according to reports.

The Ozar Hatorah school reopened Wednesday for the first time since the attack, in which a man riding a motorbike opened fire Monday outside the school where students were waiting to enter the building at the start of the school day.

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, and his two young sons, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school’s principal, were killed in the attack. They were buried in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.

Netanyahu visited with Eva Sandler, the wife of slain rabbi Jonathan Sandler, and the mother of slain boys Arieh and Gabriel. “I saw the pain and sorrow of a young mother, nursing a child, who lost her husband and two children. What barbaric cruelty could motivate someone to commit so inhuman an act,” he said upon exiting the home.

He also visited the parents and siblings of Miriam Monsonego. “To think about little Miriam, who was murdered so brutally, this is awful.  Bereavement is like disability; it is painful and debilitating, like a limb of one’s body has been cut off.  We all pray that you will find the strength to deal with your pain,” he told them. Netanyahu also suggested to Miriam’s father, the school’s principal, that the school be named after the victims.

The Sandler family was also visited by French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot.