The Associated Press

PARIS -- All seven victims of a shooter spreading terror in southwest France were killed with bullets to the head, shot at such close range that the gunfire burned the skin, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Police spread out across the region by the hundreds, hunting for an expert gunman who may have neo-Nazi ties or grudges against minorities.

The gunman is suspected of three deadly attacks: killing four people Monday at a Jewish school in Toulouse, three of them young children; shooting dead two French paratroopers and seriously wounding another Thursday in nearby Montauban; and shooting dead another paratrooper in Toulouse on March 11.

All three attacks were carried out by a man on a powerful motorcycle who was wearing a helmet and carrying a Colt .45, Prosecutor François Molins told reporters in Paris. But he said other clues to the killer's identify were scarce.

"We are confronted with an individual extremely determined in his actions, an armed individual who acts always with the same modus operandi," Molins said, "in cold blood . . . with premeditated actions."

He added the crimes appear to be premeditated considering the "choices of victims and the choices of his targets" -- the army, the foreign origin of the victims or their religion.

The victims at the school were dual French-Israeli citizens, and the paratroopers were of North African or French Caribbean origin.

President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the terror alert for the region to scarlet, the highest level. Hundreds of extra police will be on duty today for the funeral of three paratroopers, and Sarkozy will speak at that ceremony.

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