French police fatally shoot a man suspected of setting fire to a synagogue

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

French police shot and killed a man armed with a knife and a metal bar who is suspected of having set fire to a synagogue in the Normandy city of Rouen early on Friday, the latest apparent act in a storm of antisemitism roiling France amid the Israel-Hamas war.Officers were alerted early Friday morning that smoke was rising from the synagogue and came face to face with the man when they got there, the national police information service said. It said the man surged toward officers with a knife and a metal bar. An officer opened fire and fatally wounded the man, police said. Police said they had not yet identified the man.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin posted on the social media site X that the armed individual was “clearly wanting to set fire to the city’s synagogue.”He congratulated officers for “their reactivity and their courage.”Tensions and anger have grown in France over the Israel-Hamas war. Antisemitic acts have surged in the country, which has the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in western Europe.Rouen Mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol said the man is thought to have climbed onto a trash container and thrown “a sort of Molotov cocktail” inside the synagogue, starting a fire and causing “significant damage.”“When the Jewish community is attacked, it’s an attack on the national community, an attack on France, an attack on all French citizens,” he said.“It’s a fright for the whole nation,” he added.Frédéric Desguerre, a regional police union official, told broadcaster BFM-TV that the man hurled the metal bar he was carrying at the officers and pulled out a long kitchen knife from one of his sleeves.“He moved toward them with a determined air, quite violent,” he said.Desguerre, of the Unité police union, said the officer fired five shots after warning the man to stop moving.French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said this month that the sharp spike in antisemitic acts in France that followed the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel has continued into this year.Authorities registered 366 antisemitic acts in the first three months of 2024, a 300% increase over the same period last year, Attal said. More than 1,200 antisemitic acts were reported in the last three months of 2023 — which was three times more than in the whole of 2022, he said.“We are witnessing an explosion of hatred,” he said.___Leicester reported from Paris.

French police shot and killed a man armed with a knife and a metal bar who is suspected of having set fire to a synagogue in the Normandy city of Rouen early on Friday, the latest apparent act in a storm of antisemitism roiling France amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Officers were alerted early Friday morning that smoke was rising from the synagogue and came face to face with the man when they got there, the national police information service said. It said the man surged toward officers with a knife and a metal bar. An officer opened fire and fatally wounded the man, police said. Police said they had not yet identified the man.

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Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin posted on the social media site X that the armed individual was “clearly wanting to set fire to the city’s synagogue.”

He congratulated officers for “their reactivity and their courage.”

Tensions and anger have grown in France over the Israel-Hamas war. Antisemitic acts have surged in the country, which has the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in western Europe.

Rouen Mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol said the man is thought to have climbed onto a trash container and thrown “a sort of Molotov cocktail” inside the synagogue, starting a fire and causing “significant damage.”

“When the Jewish community is attacked, it’s an attack on the national community, an attack on France, an attack on all French citizens,” he said.

“It’s a fright for the whole nation,” he added.

Frédéric Desguerre, a regional police union official, told broadcaster BFM-TV that the man hurled the metal bar he was carrying at the officers and pulled out a long kitchen knife from one of his sleeves.

“He moved toward them with a determined air, quite violent,” he said.

Desguerre, of the Unité police union, said the officer fired five shots after warning the man to stop moving.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said this month that the sharp spike in antisemitic acts in France that followed the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel has continued into this year.

Authorities registered 366 antisemitic acts in the first three months of 2024, a 300% increase over the same period last year, Attal said. More than 1,200 antisemitic acts were reported in the last three months of 2023 — which was three times more than in the whole of 2022, he said.

“We are witnessing an explosion of hatred,” he said.

___

Leicester reported from Paris.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.