A gunman opened fire at a crowd of parents and children outside the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France on Monday morning, killing four people.
Police said a teacher and two children were dead and five others were wounded. Officials later stated that a third child had been killed in the shooting.
The gunman fled the scene of the crime on a scooter.
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant ordered increased security at Jewish schools throughout the country in response to the attack and President Nicolas Sarkozy was en route to the southern French city to overlook the police investigation.
Gil Taieb, a vice president of the CRIF, France’s Jewish umbrella group, told The Jerusalem Post he had no doubt the attack was a hate crime.
"For someone to locate this school in a place like Toulouse means he knew what he was doing," Taieb said. "He went there to kill Jews."
Taieb said the community was in a state of shock.
"There are occasional anti-Semitic attacks but they are small, nothing like this," he said. "We haven’t had something like this in at least ten years."
The attack on the Jewish school may be linked to two other mysterious shootings that have taken place in southern France over the past week .
Last week an off duty French soldier was shot dead by a motorcyclist in Toulouse.
On Thursday three French soldiers were shot by an unknown man at a shopping mall in Montauban, 50 kilometers north of Toulouse. Two of them later died of their wounds.
French police said similar ammunition was used in both shootings.
Some 500,000 Jews live in France, which has the world’s third largest Jewish community.