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Jewish man attacked outside Paris synagogue, another stabbed in Zurich


French police hunt assailant who used ethnic slur as he attacked 62-year-old; Swiss police increase security at Jewish sites.

French authorities were searching for an assailant who attacked a man leaving a synagogue in Paris, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said late Saturday.

Darmanin said the attack on Friday evening, allegedly targeting a man in his early 60s, was “a new antisemitic attack that occurred in Paris.”

“Everything is being done to apprehend the perpetrator of this unspeakable act,” Darmanin said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, Saturday evening.

A statement from the Paris public prosecutor’s office said an assailant was seen physically and verbally assaulting a 62-year-old man, wearing a Jewish skullcap, as he was leaving a synagogue Friday at around 5:30 p.m. local time in Paris’s 20th arrondissement.

A witness saw an assailant hit the victim, who fell on the ground and briefly lost consciousness, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. A witness reported to the police that the assailant shouted an ethnic slur at the man under attack.

The victim was transported to a hospital for treatment, the statement said, adding that the perpetrator fled on foot.

The attack came hours after Darmanin, the interior minister, said he had ordered police prefectures around the country to “immediately strengthen protections” of Jewish communities, particularly around schools and places of worship.

Darmanin said in a post on X that heightened surveillance around places, frequented by “our Jewish compatriots” is aimed to prevent them being targeted because of the “unfolding tragedies in the Middle East.”

A sharp rise in antisemitic acts in France has been reported in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza. Data from the French Interior Ministry and the Jewish Community Protection Service watchdog showed that 1,676 antisemitic acts were reported in 2023, compared to 436 the previous year.

The number of such attacks is on the rise across Europe.

In Switzerland, a 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of stabbing and critically wounding an Orthodox Jewish man on the streets of Zurich, police said Sunday.

Jonathan Kreutner, general secretary of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG), told Swiss television that physical attacks on Jewish people in the country were rare.

“A case like this is really a new dimension,” he said.

Last month, the SIG raised concern about attitudes toward Jewish people after local media reported police had opened an investigation into a sign in Hebrew displayed by a business in Davos that declared Jews were barred from renting ski gear.


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