Paris officials investigate suspected anti-Semitic attack on schoolboy

Municipal police officers stand guard near a building on 11 February 2016 in Sarcelles

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Sarcelles, a suburb in northern Paris, has a large Jewish community (file photo)

An eight-year-old boy wearing a Jewish skullcap, or kippa, has been attacked in a suburb of the French capital, Paris, in what officials suspect is the latest case of anti-Semitic violence.

Two teenage suspects, who fled the scene, did not shout any insults or steal anything from the boy, who also wore a traditional Jewish belt.

President Emmanuel Macron has condemned it as “an attack on the republic”.

France’s Jewish community has voiced fears over rising anti-Semitism.

The suspects – believed to be around 15 – were hidden behind rubbish bins and attacked the boy as he walked to a tutoring class on Monday evening in the northern suburb of Sarcelles, which has a large Jewish community, prosecutors said.

They pushed the boy to the ground and beat him, they added. The boy was said to be well physically, but shocked.

In condemning the attack, Mr Macron said on Twitter (in French) that “every time a citizen is attacked because of their age, appearance or religion, the whole republic is attacked”.

Also on Twitter, Israel’s ambassador to France, Aliza Bin Noun, said she was “disgusted by the resurgence” of anti-Semitic violence.

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View of a kosher grocery store destroyed by a fire earlier this month

France has Europe’s largest Jewish community and Jews have been targeted in several attacks in Paris in recent years:

  • A 15-year-old Jewish girl was attacked by a man in Sarcelles as she returned from school in January
  • A suspected arson attack destroyed a kosher grocery store in Créteil also in January. The Promo & Destock store had already been defaced with Nazi swastikas
  • A Jewish family was taken hostage, beaten and robbed by a gang in Livry-Gargan in September 2017. One of the attackers told the victims “you’re Jews, so where’s the money?”, according to the family’s lawyer
  • Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jew, was killed in her apartment by a Muslim neighbour last April, in the 11th arrondissement (district)

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