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French Police Shoot and Kill Man Who Set Fire to Synagogue

French Police Shoot and Kill Man Who Set Fire to Synagogue


The police shot and killed a person in northern France on Friday after he set fireplace to a synagogue within the metropolis of Rouen and attacked officers who tried to cease him, the French authorities mentioned.

Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, the mayor of Rouen, a metropolis of about 110,000 folks, advised reporters that firefighters had introduced the outbreak of flames below management and that nobody aside from the assailant had been harmed.

The identification and motives of the person who attacked the synagogue weren’t instantly clear, however the French authorities had been treating the incident as an antisemitic act. Local prosecutors have opened an investigation into “religiously motivated arson” and assault.

The authorities in France have raised the alarm a couple of surge of antisemitic incidents throughout the nation in current months, in opposition to the backdrop of the battle in Gaza.

Gérald Darmanin, France’s inside minister, advised reporters in Rouen that the hearth was “clearly an antisemitic act.” He mentioned the suspect was an Algerian man who had ignored an order to depart the nation.

“No matter the threats the Jewish neighborhood faces, they need to know that they’re protected,” Mr. Darmanin mentioned.

Mr. Mayer-Rossignol mentioned that the police’s preliminary findings had been that the person broke into the synagogue by climbing atop a trash can round 6:30 a.m. He threw an “incendiary factor” inside, beginning a hearth, Mr. Mayer-Rossignol mentioned.

The synagogue is within the historic middle of Rouen, a brief stroll from town’s famed cathedral.

“The fireplace triggered a number of injury,” Natacha Ben Haïm, head of the native Jewish neighborhood affiliation, advised reporters, including that furnishings had burned, partitions had been blackened and components of the roof had fallen down. “It’s horrible,” she mentioned.

Frédéric Teillet, the highest prosecutor in Rouen, mentioned at a information convention that the firefighters and cops who rapidly arrived on the scene noticed smoke popping out of synagogue home windows and a person on the roof with a kitchen knife in a single hand and a metallic chisel within the different.

The man shouted on the officers, threw the chisel at them, jumped down from the roof after which brandished the knife as he ran at one of many officers, ignoring orders to cease, Mr. Teillet mentioned.

The officer fired 5 pictures, 4 of which hit the person, Mr. Teillet mentioned.

France is on excessive alert over the danger of terrorist assaults and different potential safety threats, particularly within the run-up to the Summer Olympics in Paris, that are set to begin in July.

Mr. Darmanin mentioned that the person who set the hearth had filed a request for a French residency allow on medical grounds in 2022 however was turned down.

The man appealed that refusal, Mr. Darmanin mentioned, however misplaced the attraction in January and was being sought by the police. But he was not on a watch record for suspected extremism, and he had not been convicted of another crime, Mr. Darmanin added.

France was scarred by large-scale Islamist terrorist assaults in 2015 and 2016, and a string of smaller however nonetheless lethal shootings and stabbings in subsequent years have ensured that safety and intelligence forces stay on edge.

The nation is at present at its highest terror alert degree, which was raised in March after a lethal assault on a Moscow live performance corridor that was claimed by the Islamic State.

The battle in Gaza and heightened tensions between Israel and Iran have additionally stored the authorities fearful about potential repercussions in France, which is dwelling to a few of Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations.

In April, after Iran launched airstrikes in opposition to Israel, Mr. Darmanin ordered elevated safety at synagogues and at Jewish faculties round France.

Gabriel Attal, the French prime minister, mentioned this month that greater than 360 antisemitic incidents — together with threats, assaults and different acts — had been recorded in France within the first three months of 2024, up 300 % from the earlier 12 months.

After the assault in Rouen, Yonathan Arfi, head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, mentioned in a social media submit, “Setting fireplace to a synagogue is an try to intimidate all Jews.”

The assault and taking pictures in Rouen got here days after a Holocaust memorial was vandalized in Paris. The memorial, a wall of names that honors individuals who helped rescue Jews in France throughout World War II, was defaced with graffiti of purple fingers.

Chmouel Lubecki, rabbi on the synagogue in Rouen, advised the information channel BFMTV that he had had no data of particular threats in opposition to the synagogue, however he lamented a local weather of “tensions” and mentioned that the hearth didn’t shock him.

“We had this worry inside us, however when it occurs it’s nonetheless surprising,” Rabbi Lubecki mentioned. He urged the Jewish neighborhood to gentle candles for Shabbat on Friday “to point out that we aren’t afraid and that we’re persevering with to follow our Judaism regardless of the circumstances.”

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Paper license plates sometimes expire in 90 days — or much less

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