Memorial to slain French Jew Halimi vandalized
French prosecutors open investigation into damaging of plaque honoring Ilan Halimi
PARIS — French authorities said vandals damaged a memorial plaque honoring a young French Jewish man tortured and killed in 2006.
The incident targeting the monument to Ilan Halimi came amid heightened religious tensions in France, after radical Islamic gunmen attacked a Paris kosher market and newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement Sunday that prosecutors have opened an investigation into the damage to the monument in the Paris suburb of Bagneux.
Halimi’s death stunned many in France, especially in the Jewish community, Europe’s largest. Driven in part by anti-Semitism, a gang held him captive for weeks and tortured him, then left him naked and handcuffed near railroad tracks. The 23-year-old Halimi died en route to the hospital.
On Friday, French anti-Semitism watchdog group BNVCA reported that two Jewish men were attacked in Paris in the middle of the day by a pro-Palestinian gang, leaving them slightly injured.
The men, in the early 20s, were attacked by a gang of about 40 people, identified as being members of Gaza Firm, a pro-Palestinian group, and involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The attack took place on Boulevard Voltaire in Paris’ 11 arrondissement, or district, the same location in which Halimi’s 2006 kidnapping took place, home to many Jewish-owned businesses.
Police sent officers to the scene to prevent an escalation, and have opened an investigation into the attack.
Some 851 anti-Semitic 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.