A suspicious fire gutted a kosher market in a Paris suburb early Tuesday morning. The attack comes exactly three years to the day of an assault on another Jewish market by an Islamist gunman in which four people died.
A fire that ripped through a kosher market south of Paris early Tuesday morning is suspected of being arson. The same store in the suburb of Creteil was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti last week, said French officials. There were no injuries reported.
The attack revived fears about anti-Semitism, occurring as it did on the third anniversary of the January 9, 2015 attack at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in eastern Paris in which Jihadi gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed three customers and an employee.
A source close to the police investigation said it was "too soon to discuss motives." However, Creteil prosecutor Laure Beccuau said investigators do not believe the fire was an accident.
According to community leader Albert Elharrar, Creteil's Jewish community numbers some 23,000 out of the suburb's 90,000 residents. He said that the manager of the shop was Muslim, adding, "That shows the spirit of the city of Creteil where the Jewish community lives.”
Elharrar said Jewish groups believe the shops were deliberately targeted at the time of commemorations for the 2015 attacks.
Israeli ambassador Aliza Bin Noun called the fire a "shameful provocation." In a Tweet she said "Three years after the massacre of the Hypercacher I condemn the fire of a grocery store to hide in Creteil. This new attack is a shameful provocation and proves the importance of continuing the fight against anti-Semitism."
Rise in anti-semitism?
In an interview with Europe 1 Radio, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that more had to be done to combat anti-Semitism which had become "deeply rooted" in France.
After the Hyper Cacher attack, 7,900 French Jews left for Israel citing a rise in anti-Semitism. The number of emigres has slowed since then; however the number of crimes directed against Jews and Jewish businesses continues to concern the Jewish community as well as French authorities.
av/rt (AFP, AP)