French authorities are investigating an assault on an 8-year-old boy wearing a Jewish kippa in a Paris suburb, the second assault on Jewish children in the area in three weeks, which France’s President Emmanuel Macron denounced as “heinous.”
The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday that investigators suspect the incident in the town of Sarcelles was motivated by anti-Semitism.
According to the victim, the assailants were about 15 years old and attacked him on his way to after-school tutoring. They pushed him to the ground and then beat him.
President Macron condemned the attack on Tuesday evening, saying that any attack on a citizen over their religious identity is an attack on France.
“An 8-year-old boy was attacked today in Sarcelles. Because he was wearing a kippa. Every time a citizen is attacked because of his age, his appearance or his religion, the whole country is being attacked,” the French leader wrote on his Twitter account.
“And it is the whole country that stands, especially today, alongside the French Jews to fight each of these despicable acts, with them and for them,” he added.
Et c’est toute la République qui se dresse particulièrement aujourd’hui aux côtés des Français de confession juive pour combattre avec eux et pour eux chacun de ces actes ignobles. 2/2
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 31, 2018
Earlier, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb released a statement denouncing in the “strongest terms” the “cowardly aggression” which is “contrary to our most fundamental values.” Collomb said police are doing “everything” to identify the perpetrators.
On January 10, a 15-year-old girl had her faced slashed during lunch break by an unidentified assailant, in an assault which also took place in the town of Sarcelles. She was wearing the uniform of her private Jewish school, Merkaz-Hatorah, and arrived home bleeding and in shock.
“I have no doubt the perpetrators of this attack had anti-Semitic motives,” mayor François Pupponi wrote in a statement. “Faced with these acts, we need to abandon pretense and naiveté. In Sarcelles, everybody knows who is a practicing 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 previous attacks on the Jewish community, including the torching earlier in the month of two kosher shops in Creteil, another suburb of Paris, and the targeting of the same shops vandalized with swastikas, Pupponi warned that the Paris region is seeing “a return of anti-Semitic currents.”
[Photo: FRANCE24 English / YouTube]