French teen slashed in ‘anti-Semitic attack’

A street in Sarcelles, France. Photo: SA Claude Villetaneuse/Wikipedia

DAYS after the suspected torching of two kosher shops near Paris, a Jewish teenager had her faced slashed by an unidentified assailant on a street in the suburb of Sarcelles.

François Pupponi, a lawmaker in the lower house of France’s parliament and a former mayor of Sarcelles, on Friday called the assault last Wednesday on the 15-year-old alleged victim, who complained to police, “a heinous anti-Semitic attack”.

The alleged victim was wearing the uniform of her private Jewish school, Merkaz-Hatorah, when the attack happened during lunch break.

She was able to walk home and arrived bleeding and “shocked,” her mother told Le Parisien.

The assailant ran away immediately after the assault, the alleged victim said. She did not see his face. The assailant did not say anything before, during or immediately after the assault.

“I have no doubt the perpetrators of this attack had anti-Semitic motives,” Pupponi wrote in a statement Friday.

“Faced with these acts, we need to abandon pretence and naiveté. In Sarcelles, everybody knows who is a practising Jew according to the way they dress. Delinquents know it too.

“When someone slashes a young girl’s face with a utility knife, when she is wearing clothes favored by many women from the Jewish community, then there is no room for doubt.”

Citing the torching earlier this week of two kosher shops in Creteil, another suburb of Paris, and the targeting of the same shops last month by individuals who painted swastikas on their facades, Pupponi wrote that the Paris region is seeing in recent weeks “a return of anti-Semitic currents.”

Meanwhile, French Jews have protested the release of a man who was extradited from Canada on suspicion that he was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, said on Friday that it was “indignant” about the release of Hassan Diab, a Lebanese-Canadian academic accused in the 1980 bombing of the synagogue on Copernic Street, which killed four people.

Diab has denied any connection to the act, which Israel and other Western countries believe was the work of terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Earlier this week a judge said the prosecution did not have enough “convincing” evidence on Diab and released him.

“CRIF calls on the public prosecution to appeal the release,” a CRIF spokesperson wrote in a statement.

“This release without trial of the main suspect is an insult to the memory of the victims and adds to their relatives’ pain,” said CRIF President Francis Kalifat in the statement.

JTA