French officials charged two men in their 20s for the beating of a 17-year-old Jewish boy in an incident that prompted an outcry in Paris.
On Thursday, Foued O., 26, and Sekou M. 25, were charged with “attempted murder and group violence aggravated by their anti-Semitic character” for assaulting Rudy Haddad on June 21. Haddad, who was wearing a kipah, was brutally beaten with metal bars while on his way to synagogue Saturday evening.
Since the incident, the French Jewish community has pressed Parisian authorities to treat the attack as a hate crime.
Officials also charged a third man from Mali, Boubacar C., age 27, with “group violence aggravated by anti-Semitic circumstances and carrying a weapon.” Boubacar C. is suspected of using a machete in another skirmish between Jewish youth and youth of North African origin that took place before Haddad’s beating and left another Jewish youth injured.
Paris officials confirmed Friday that Foued O. is a corporal in the French Air Force, and was on sick leave at the time the attack took place.
Foued O.’s behavior was “totally unacceptable,” French Defense Minister Herve Morin told France Info radio on Friday.
Both the suspects deny the charges but admit to being present during the attack on Haddad. Four other suspects being held by authorities earlier this week were released.
Since waking from a medically induced coma following the attack, Haddad has said he has no memory of the incident.