Plaque in memory of Ilan Halimi vandalized in suburban Paris park


(JTA) — A plaque in memory of Ilan Halimi, a Parisian Jew who was kidnapped and tortured to death more than a decade ago, was vandalized for the second time.

The plaque, located in a park in the Paris suburb of Bagneux, was discovered on Wednesday morning to be covered with anti-Semitic and insulting graffiti including a swastika, the name Hitler and “Free Frofana” — referring to the gang leader convicted and jailed in Paris three years after Halimi’s death.

“This kind of act is an insult to this young person and all those who fight against anti-Semitism and racism,” said the mayor of Bagneux, Marie-Hélène Amiable, according to the French newspaper L’express. Amiable said the plaque would be replaced as soon as possible.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement: “This cowardly and odious act hurts the memory of the victim and is an affront to the values ​​of the Republic.” He said that “everything will be done to identify the perpetrators of this act and bring them to justice.”

A gang of at least 16 members led by Youssouf Fofana, dubbed the “barbarian gang,” lured Halimi to them using a young woman who asked him out on a date at his job at a cellphone store. Halimi was abducted, then tortured and starved for 24 days while they negotiated with his family to obtain a ransom. Fofana assured his gang that they would be paid because Halimi was Jewish.

Halimi was found naked and handcuffed in a Paris suburb on Feb. 13, 2006. He had burns on 80 percent of his body and died on his way to the hospital. He was buried in Israel.

The plaque, which was erected in 2011, was vandalized and broken for the first time in 2015. It was quickly replaced.

The plaque reads: “The people of Bagneux remember Ilan Halimi (October 11, 1982-February 13, 2006), a victim of barbarism, antisemitism and racism.”

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