An 8-year-old Jewish boy wearing a kippa was attacked on Tuesday in the suburb of Sarcelles near Paris, in the second assault on Jewish children in the area in three weeks.
Local prosecutors told AFP on Tuesday that it was treating the incident as an anti-Semitic crime.
Prosecutors said the two youths attacked the boy while he was on his way to after-school tutoring on Tuesday, pushing him to the ground and then beating him. According to the victim, the assailants were about 15 years old.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the incident Tuesday evening, saying that any attack on a citizen over their religious identity constitutes an attack on the whole Republic.
“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.
Earlier, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb released a statement condemning in the “strongest terms” the “cowardly aggression” which is “contrary to our most fundamental values.”
On January 10, a 15-year-old girl had her faced slashed by an unidentified assailant, also in Sarcelles.
She 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 girl 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 after that incident. “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 the torching earlier in the month 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 “a return of anti-Semitic currents.”
Sarcelles, nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” due to its large Jewish population, was rocked by anti-Jewish violence during the 2014 war in Gaza.
Several shops were set on fire or vandalized, including a kosher grocery.
JTA contributed to this report.