Soldiers slain in terrorist execution: Sarkozy
Montauban - President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday that three French paratroopers gunned down last week in southern France were victims of a "terrorist execution".
"A French soldier knows death and knows how to look it in the face, but the death our men met was not the death for which they were prepared. It was not death on the field of battle but a terrorist execution," he said.
The president was speaking at a memorial ceremony for the soldiers at their barracks in Montauban, while police in nearby Toulouse besieged the flat where a self-declared al-Qaeda gunman was holed up resisting arrest.
Sarkozy said the killer had wanted to "bring France to its knees", but had failed, and said he would likewise fail in his attempt to divide the country.
Investigators believe the cornered suspect was responsible for killing three paratroopers in two attacks last week and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school on Monday.
"If our communities were chosen as targets, it was soldiers, children and French citizens who were murdered," Sarkozy said at a solemn service of remembrance in the barracks of the 17th Parachute Engineering Regiment.