French police probe assault of two Jewish men in suburban Paris
Victims reported a racially-motivated attack on Tuesday night
Police in France are investigating a possible anti-Semitic attack on two Jewish men, during which one man’s finger was reportedly sawn off.
The two sons of a local Jewish community leader said they were forced off the road in the Parisian suburb of Bondy on Tuesday just after 9 p.m. (3 p.m. ET).
France’s interior minister, Bruno Le Roux, has condemned the racially-motivated assault, saying every effort would be made “to find and arrest the perpetrators of these indescribable actions.”
BNCVA, a local Jewish rights group, said the pair’s father reported how his sons, who were both wearing kippas, were forced off the road by a father and son of north African origin in a small truck. The pair were then reportedly told “You Jews, a*******, you’re going to die!”
The group, which helps victims of anti-Semitism in France, said others from a nearby shisha bar then joined the attackers, one of whom was wielding a saw, and beat the boys until they were able to escape and get to a hospital.
Bondy is a suburb in the Seine-saint-Denis district, not far from Aulnay-sous-Bois, the scene of an alleged rape of a 22-year-old man by police earlier this month. The assault has led to weeks of violent protests and heightened tensions in Seine-saint-Denis.
Despite the gravity of the attack against the two Jewish men, it is not indicative of an uptick in this kind of crime. According to the latest Interior Ministry figures, there has been a nearly 60% drop in anti-Semitic attacks in France over the last year, with 335 attacks recorded compared to more than 800 in the same period in 2015.
In January 2015, during the Charlie Hebdo attacks, four French Jews were killed in a kosher supermarket. And in 2012, four people, including three children, were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse by gunman Mohammed Merah.