We know the where, when and how but what yokes together the drive-by assassinations of paratroopers from immigrant backgrounds and a rabbi and three Jewish school children?
This post is likely to be superseded by events but it is important to summarize what is known seven hours after today's killings (thanks to the BBC):
There have been three attacks in the last five days in the vicinity of Toulouse. All the victims are visibly members of a minority. IN the two shootings involving members of French army parachute regiments the victims are North African and Caribbean immigrants.
The Jewish victims are orthodox Jews and the school was a Jewish school.
Police are drip feeding information and it seems that the gun used in all three attacks is the same as is the killer's MO: driving up a on a black motor scooter and opening fire precisely and without warning.
One leading French commentator, Pierre Haski, cut straight to the chase about who he thinks might be involved.
""This is an ordeal and a test." Haski blogs at Rue89 (in French). "This event made me think immediately about the Oslo massacre last summer, the act of revenge on society of one isolated extremist."
One is inclined to say that this is the most likely motive for these senseless, cold-blooded murders. Haski notes that the current French presidential election campaign has inflamed passions on issues of immigration. He refrains from mentioning recent comments by supporters of French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling for a ban on Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter of meat. As well as other comment by Sarkozy and the National Front's Marine Le Pen on limiting immigration from Arab North Africa.
However, it is a mark of how crazy the world has become, that it is not out of the realms of possibility, though less likely, that a jihadi carried the attacks out on people he regarded as turncoat collaborators with oppressors of Muslims, i.e. the soldiers; and representatives of Zionism - as all Jews are considered to be.