Jewish teacher in Marseille stabbed by IS-supporting gang

Group shouts anti-Semitic slurs, show off picture of terrorist Mohamed Merah, while attacking man in southern French city; victim not in life-threatening danger

French police officers patrol on bike at the Canebiere in Marseille, on November 14, 2015. (AFP/ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT)
French police officers patrol on bike at the Canebiere in Marseille, on November 14, 2015. (AFP/ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT)

A history teacher at a Jewish school in the southern French city of Marseille was stabbed by three people shouting anti-Semitic obscenities on Wednesday evening, the local police chief said.

The attack on teacher Tzion Saadon, 56, took place around 8:00 p.m. local time, police prefect Laurent Nunez said.

The victim’s life was not in danger, Nunez said, adding that a large number of police were combing the area for the attackers.

One of the attackers was wearing a shirt with the Islamic State terror group logo, prosecutor Brice Robin told Reuters.

“The three people insulted, threatened and then stabbed their victim in the arm and leg. They were interrupted by the arrival of a car and fled,” Robin added.

The teacher, a bearded, observant Jew, was wearing a skullcap, Michele Teboul, the president of the local branch of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jews, told JTA. A young man approached him on a moped in Marseille’s 13th arrondissement, or district, and showed him a cell phone with a picture of Mohammed Merah, a french jihadist who killed a rabbi and four children at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012.

The attacker also showed the teacher that he was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the symbol of the Islamic State terrorist group. Then the man produced a knife and stabbed the teacher, who sustained superficial injuries.

The two other suspects believed to have been involved in the attack stood by, and joined in when the attacker began shouting anti-Semitic profanities. They did not stab the victim.

Saadon filed a complaint with police as he was being treated, and was evacuated to a hospital, where he was treated for light to moderate injuries. On her way to visit the teacher in hospital, Teboul confirmed initial reports his life was not in danger. The victim, she added, was conscious.

The stabbing comes as France is on heightened alert following the Islamist attacks that killed 129 people in Paris at the weekend.

The terror attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, were the worst in French history.

In October a rabbi and two Jewish worshipers were stabbed outside a synagogue in Marseilles following Shabbat prayers. The knife-wielding assailant could be heard shouting anti-Semitic slurs at the time of the assault.

One of the victims sustained serious injuries during the attack.

There have been a series of attacks on Jews in France in recent years, including the shooting at a kosher supermarket in Paris in January, in which four people were killed and the 2012 Toulouse attacks, ramping up fears among the Jewish community and spurring an upsurge in immigration to Israel.

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