US/World News

Gang attacks 2 Jewish men in Paris; Halimi memorial vandalized

(JTA) – Two Jewish men were attacked in Paris by a gang estimated at 40 people. The victims, in their early 20s, were slightly injured in the Friday afternoon, May 1 attack in an area that is home to many Jewish-owned businesses, according to a report by France’s National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. The assailants were identified as members of Gaza Firm, a pro-Palestinian group that is involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, according to JSSNews, which first reported the attack.

The attack took place on Voltaire Boulevard, the site of the 2006 kidnapping of Ilan Halimi, in the 11th arrondissement, or district. Members of the Jewish community volunteered to protect the Jewish-owned businesses in the wake of the attack, according to BNVCA. Police sent officers to the scene to prevent an escalation and have opened an investigation into the attack.

In the wake of the attack on the two Jewish men, it was discovered that a memorial plaque erected in 2011 to honor Halimi was vandalized. Halimi was a 23-year-old French phone salesman who was held captive in Bagneux for more than three weeks. He was found naked and handcuffed on Feb. 13, 2006, with burns on 80 percent of his body and died on his way to the hospital. Halimi had been tortured and starved while the kidnappers negotiated the ransom with his family.

Some 851 antisemitic acts were registered in 2014, compared with 423 the previous year, with acts of physical violence jumping to 241 from 105, according to the SPCJ security unit of French Jewish communities.

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