Jewish community in France face an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic attacks

French police confirm Islamic group were planning targeted attacks against the Jewish community

by Natalie Glanvill on 10 October 2012 11:14


French police who raided an Islamic terror cell over the weekend found documents that show the group, responsible for the recent attack on a kosher supermarket were planning new attacks against the Jewish community.

“Extremely” anti-Semitic documents, ammunition, Islamist manuals and 27,000 euros in cash were all found by police in the raid. Synagogues, Jewish Schools and other Jewish institutions have been put under increased police protection following the recent hike in Jewish related attacks. French President Francois Hollande has promised to give top priority to the evidently growing threat against Jewish targets by Islamic militants following a meeting with Jewish community leaders.

The raid comes after the recent grenade attack on a Naori kosher supermarket in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles on 19 September where two hooded men dressed in black threw at least one hand grenade into the store, wounding one person. In the raid, police killed the group’s leader, Jeremie Louis-Sidney, a 33 year old Salafist neophyte after he opened fire on officers and police arrested 12 other members who remain in detention on suspicion of being involved in the supermarket attack or of planning further targeted Jewish attacks.  

A surge of home-grown terrorists

Between 100 and 200 extreme Islamic militants are potential terrorists, says the former head of French Intelligence Services. According to the government’s Interior Minister Manual Valls, “There’s a real threat. Radical Islam…thrives on fantasies, on hatred towards our country and towards French Jews” and warned that local cells are even harder to fight than international jihadist movements. Valls continues to say, “They’re not foreign networks that come from outside, but networks that have grown in our country, in our neighbourhoods. They’re not foreigners, but French converts, French Muslims”. Strasbourg’s public prosecutor Patrick Poirret indicated that Jeremie Louis-Sidney “probably wanted to die like a martyr” after five wills were uncovered during the raid.

The French service for the protection of the Jewish community (SPJC) watchdog said on Monday that ‘anti-Semitic acts surged by 45 percent in the first eight months of this year’ and were given new impetus following the deadly attacks in Toulouse in March this year.

Speaking after a meeting with top security officials, French Prime Minister Jean –Marc Ayrault said the government “will not tolerate any form of racism or anti-Semitism” and later in the National Assembly he continued this line by saying the government would “battle all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and religious hatred and ensure the security of all places of worship”.  

A police union representative has raised concerns that officers lack the resources that are needed to properly ensure security. Frederic Fonel, the head of France’s National Union of Municipal Police (SNPM) said authorities were “lying” to Jewish groups about security and municipal police are “under armed and not trained” to defend these targeted sites.

Natalie Glanvill is an Editorial Assistant at The Commentator and tweets at @NatalieGlanvil1

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