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Marseille Jew fended off stabber with ‘holy book’

French PM denounces attack by IS-inspired Turkish teen as ‘revolting anti-Semitic aggression’

Police officers stand guard in front of the 'La Source' Jewish school in Marseille, southern France, after a Jewish teacher was attacked by a teenager wielding a machete, January 11, 2016. (AFP/BERTRAND LANGLOIS)
Police officers stand guard in front of the 'La Source' Jewish school in Marseille, southern France, after a Jewish teacher was attacked by a teenager wielding a machete, January 11, 2016. (AFP/BERTRAND LANGLOIS)

PARIS, France — A Turkish teenager who stabbed a Jewish teacher with a machete on Monday in the southern French city of Marseille told police he was attacking in the name of the Islamic State group, a prosecutor said.

The attack, which left the 35-year-old teacher with an injured shoulder and hand, occurred in broad daylight in the south of the city, prosecutor Brice Robin said.

The 15-year-old ethnic Kurd rushed the victim from behind and stabbed him in the shoulder, then chased after him for a few meters until he fell, Robin said.

The victim fended off the assailant using his arms and legs, as well as his “holy book,” which was damaged in the scuffle, the prosecutor said.

The suspect “has the profile of someone who was radicalized on the Internet,” Robin told a press briefing.

“He claimed to have been acting for Daesh,” Robin said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

“You get the sense that he does not have a full grasp of the fundamentals of Islam,” he added.

The boy even admitted to investigators that he planned to arm himself and kill police as soon as he is released.

The prosecutor said the teenager’s family was unaware of his radicalization and that he was a “good student.”

“It appears there was a form of premeditation” with the intent of killing the victim because of his religion, Robin said.

French President Francois Hollande vowed authorities would continue to act “with the greatest firmness against anti-Semitism and racism.”

“Such acts are unspeakable and unjustifiable,” he said.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls reacted with a tweet saying: “The anti-Semitic aggression against a teacher in Marseille is revolting.”

In a statement, the Jewish umbrella group CRIF said it was “urgent to get at the roots of this scourge, and those who… propagate it on the Internet.”

It said French Jews were caught up in “a spiral of hatred that doesn’t seem to want to stop.”

The teenager, who will turn 16 next week, faces charges of “attempted murder on grounds of religion” and “defense of terrorism.”

The teacher was on his way to work at the Franco-Hebraic Institute when he was attacked.

The incident came nearly two months after another assault, north of Marseille, in which three people shouting anti-Semitic obscenities and support for the Islamic State group stabbed a Jewish teacher, injuring him in the arms, legs and stomach.

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