French Jews Remember Anniversary of 2012 Terror Attacks That Culminated in Massacre at Jewish School
France on Thursday began commemorations for the ninth anniversary of a devastating Islamist terror spree that claimed the lives of seven people, including three children at a Jewish school and two soldiers in the French army.
The tributes to the victims — murdered in the Toulouse region by Islamist terrorist Mohamed Merah between March 11-15, 2012 — coincided with the Europe-wide national memorial day for the victims of terrorism. That event takes place on March 11 to commemorate the 2004 terror attack on the same day upon the Atocha train station in the Spanish capital, Madrid.
The French Jewish communal organization CRIF tweeted a tribute to the first of the seven victims, Imad ibn Ziaten, a parachutist in the French armed forces from a Muslim family of Moroccan origin. Ziaten was shot dead by Merah at point blank range after refusing to obey the terrorist’s instruction to lie on the ground.
“A few days later, six people including two other soldiers, three children and a father were also murdered,” the CRIF tweet noted.
On March 19, 2012, Merah launched a gun attack on the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse. He murdered Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, who taught at the school, together with his two sons, six-year-old Aryeh and three-year-old Gabriel.
Merah then grabbed another child, eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego, and shot her through the head before escaping. Following a 30 hour siege at his apartment building in which six agents were wounded, Merah was shot dead by a police tactical unit on March 22.
In a 2015 interview with The Algemeiner, Miriam’s father, Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego — at the time, the principal of the Ozar Hatorah school — paid a moving tribute to his staff colleagues who remained loyal to the school in the wake of the massacre. I am surrounded by people who always take it upon themselves to do more,” he said.