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Toulouse and Montauban Shootings (2012)
Toulouse and Montauban Shootings (2012)
March 19, 2012
Total victims:
Photo by AP/Bruno Martin

Toulouse and Montauban Shootings (2012)

4 Jews were killed in an antisemitic attack in Toulouse, France on 3/19/2012

The shootings at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, part of a series of attacks by Mohammed Merah, deeply shook France with its blatant act of antisemitism.

On March 19, 2012, a chilling act of terrorism unfolded in Toulouse, France, at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school, leaving a deep scar on the community and the nation. This brutal attack, carried out by a lone gunman, resulted in the deaths of a teacher and three children, shocking the country and drawing widespread condemnation from around the world.


The city of Toulouse, known for its vibrant culture and historical significance, was thrust into the international spotlight for a tragic reason. The Ozar Hatorah school, serving as a cornerstone of Jewish education and community life in Toulouse, became the scene of one of France's most horrifying acts of antisemitic violence in recent history. This attack was part of a series of shootings in the Toulouse area, targeting soldiers and Jewish civilians, carried out by Mohammed Merah, who claimed ties to al-Qaeda.

Details of the Attack:

On the morning of the attack, Merah arrived at the school on a motorbike, armed and prepared for violence. He initially targeted a group of soldiers in the days preceding the school shooting, indicating a broader campaign of terror. At the school, Merah opened fire, killing Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old teacher at the school, his two young sons, Aryeh, aged 6, and Gabriel, aged 3, as well as 8-year-old Myriam Monsonego, the daughter of the school's principal. The attack was characterized by its brazenness and the young age of the victims, which added to the national outrage and grief that followed.

Victims of the Attack:

- **Rabbi Jonathan Sandler**: A respected teacher known for his dedication to his students and his faith. He had recently returned to France from Israel to serve the Jewish community in Toulouse.

- **Aryeh and Gabriel Sandler**: The young sons of Rabbi Sandler, whose lives were tragically cut short in the violence of the attack.

- **Myriam Monsonego**: Daughter of the school's principal, known for her bright spirit and beloved by all who knew her.

The aftermath of the shooting saw an outpouring of grief and solidarity, both within France and internationally. Vigils and memorials were held in honor of the victims, and the French government heightened security around Jewish institutions across the country. The attack prompted a nationwide discussion on domestic terrorism, radicalization, and the need for community resilience in the face of hatred.

The shooting at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse remains a somber reminder of the threat posed by radical extremism and the importance of vigilance, tolerance, and education in combating antisemitism and all forms of hatred. It underscores the need to protect vulnerable communities and ensure that such acts of terror do not shatter the principles of freedom and diversity that define democratic societies.

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