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Finland memorial for gun victims

Candles were lit at the school and a church memorial service was held

A memorial service has taken place in Finland for victims of a high school shooting.

On Tuesday, Matti Juhani Saari, aged 22, shot 10 people in Kauhajoki, before turning his gun on himself.

President Tarja Halonen and students of Kauhajoki Vocational School, where the shootings took place, attended the church service, broadcast live on TV.

The murders took place less than a year after another school shooting in which nine people died, including the killer.

A choir sang during the service and candles were lit to commemorate all those who had died in the attack, including Saari.

Bishop Simo Peura said the murders had "caused a sore loss for individual families and the whole nation".

"All of us are needed to carry that sorrow," he said.

Possible links

Saari, a 22-year-old student at the school, was seen entering the school dressed in black and wearing a ski mask.

He killed nine people in one classroom and fatally wounded another in a hallway before setting the school on fire.

He then shot himself and later died in hospital.

Eight of his victims were female students and one was a teacher.

Investigators say they are studying a possible link between the shootings and a similar murder spree at a school north of Helsinki last year.

The massacres have provoked the government into considering tightening the country's gun laws, among the loosest in Europe.

Finns have the third highest ratio of gun ownership in the world, after the US and Yemen, according to an international survey of small arms carried out in 2007.

SEE ALSO
In pictures: Finnish school shooting
23 Sep 08 |  In Pictures
Profile: Finnish school suspect
23 Sep 08 |  Europe
Timeline of school shootings
23 Sep 08 |  Special Reports

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