Three Jewish children and a rabbi were murdered on Monday in what appears to be the worst antisemitic attack in France in recent history.
It follows last week’s murder, also in the southern city of Toulouse, of four soldiers of north African and black Caribbean descent.
Police say that the same gun and scooter were used in all of the murders.
Sections of the media quickly jumped to blame the killings on Islamic extremists. Now that narrative has changed to talk of a “lone madman”.
But some in the French press have drawn attention to links between the killings and the activities of the far right.
The murdered soldiers were part of the 17th French paratroop division based in Montauban, near Toulouse.
Several troops were kicked out of the division in 2008 after being photographed making Nazi salutes and displaying swastika flags.
Investigators say they are looking at whether the fascist former soldiers were responsible for the murders.
The killings come during the run-up to next month’s presidential elections in France.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the current president, responded to the murders by saying “hate cannot win”. Yet he has been running a racist campaign targeting Jews and Muslims and claiming that minorities are refusing to “integrate” into French society.
“There are too many immigrants in France,” Sarkozy declared last month. He even claimed that French people were secretly being fed halal meat.
This was followed by Francois Fillon, the prime minister, calling for Jews and Muslims to stop eating kosher and halal food.
Sarkozy’s ally and head of the immigration office Arno Klarsfeld claimed last week that a wall should be built between Greece and Turkey to prevent foreigners entering Europe.
Behind this is a desperate attempt by Sarkozy to appeal to supporters of the fascist Front National. Sarkozy hopes to shore up his vote with those of racists and Nazis.
It is no coincidence that Sarkozy’s racism has been followed by one of the worst racist attacks in France in a generation.
Across Europe, politicians use racism to shift the blame away from themselves and set workers against each other.
It is out of this manure that fascists gain confidence to launch their murderous attacks.