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2 new arrests in French attack on Jewish school

PARIS — Two arrests in southern France on Tuesday bolstered long-simmering suspicions that the country’s worst terrorist killings in years involved multiple players and were not the work of a ‘‘lone-wolf’’ radical Islamist.

The attacks in March around the southern city of Toulouse left seven dead — including Jewish schoolchildren and French paratroopers — and terrified France. Lawyers for the victims’ families hailed Tuesday’s arrests as a sign of progress in the investigation.

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A 38-year-old Muslim convert who used to live in the same housing project as the gunman and his family was arrested Tuesday, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. The new suspect’s former girlfriend, also 38, was arrested as well, according to the prosecutor’s office.

They were the first arrests in the investigation since the March killings of three paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren, and a rabbi.

Mohamed Merah, 23, was killed in a shootout with police soon after the attacks in March.

Authorities initially described the gunman as a lone extremist who carefully plotted his killings in the name of radical Islam.

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