Funerals of Toulouse victims as suspect surrounded by police

By Jennifer Lipman, March 21, 2012
Mourners in a funeral procession for the victims of the Jewish school shootings

Mourners in a funeral procession for the victims of the Jewish school shootings

The funerals of the four victims of the shootings at a Jewish school in France on Monday have been held in Jerusalem.

Thousands of mourners gathered in the city to mark the tragic deaths of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler Rabbi, his two young sons and seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego.

Rabbi Sandler's wife has said she will stay in Israel with her unborn child, rather than return to the family home in Toulouse.

Israeli's Knesset speaker, Reuven Rivlin, addressed mourners at the funeral. He said:. "The Jewish people face wild and insatiable animals, wild animals made crazy by their hatred."

Meanwhile, the stand-off with the suspect of the school attack and the murders of three paratroopers is continuing at a house in Toulouse.

Two police officers have already been injured in gunfire with the man, who has been holed up in the house since the arrival of police at about 3am.

The man has been named as Mohammed Merah, a 24-year-old of Algerian descent. He has claimed to be linked to al-Qaida and said that he wanted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and French military actions abroad.

Police attempted to bring his mother to the scene to help with negotiations, but she refused. Two of the suspect's brothers have been arrested. Police are understood to have turned off gas in the area, fearing that he could blow himself up.

The suspect has thrown his pistol out of the window but has other weapons with him.

Last updated: 10:33am, March 21 2012