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Anti-Semitic attacks in France rise 45 percent this year

(JTA) — France has seen a 45 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks reported through August from the corresponding period a year ago.

In one of three recent incidents reported by SPCJ, the security unit of France’s Jewish communities, unidentified assailants near Paris injured a Jewish woman in her sukkah on Oct. 5.

SPCJ has counted 386 of what it calls “anti-Semitic acts” from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31 this year, the organization said in a report Wednesday. In the corresponding period of 2011, SPCJ counted 266 such incidents. SPCJ said the figures correlated to official data by French authorities.

Of the incidents this year,101 were “violent actions,” SPCJ said, including the slaying of four people at a school in Toulouse on March 19 by Mohamed Merah, a Muslim extremist. The attack triggered "an explosion" of anti-Semitic attacks, SPCJ said. Most other incidents documented were cases of intimidation, the report said.

The attack on the sukkah near Paris occurred as 10 members of a Jewish family were eating dinner in their garden in Seine St. Denis, an eastern suburb of Paris. The family ignored a group of men who had shouted obscenities at them from the street, according to the SPCJ report, before the men pelted them with rocks. One of the rocks struck a woman in her back and caused her minor injuries. None of the children present, including an 8-month-old baby, were hurt.

According to the SPCJ report, the assailants shouted at the family in Arabic, as well as in French, saying “Dirty Jews, return home,” “we’ll get you” and “we’ve had enough of you, dirty Jews.” They fled before police reached the scene.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 9, a 19-year-old Jewish male was lightly wounded by a metal ball that was fired at him as he was leaving a Paris synagogue.

Also discovered on  that day in Avignon, a city in the south of France near Marseille, unidentified assailants destroyed a Star of David that was imprinted on the exterior wall of a Jewish cemetery and chiseled off the word “Jewish.” 

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