(JTA) — Police in France arrested four teenagers who are suspected of beating a Jewish boy with a stick and taking away his kippah outside a synagogue north of Paris.
The suspects were detained Wednesday night in Montmagny, the Le Parisien daily reported Thursday. Their alleged victim, 14, was beaten after 8 p.m. outside the suburban synagogue, where the holiday of Purim was being celebrated. The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, praised authorities for “swift and effective” action.
The report did not say whether the boy was injured, but his sunglasses were smashed. One of his attackers was armed with a baton.
Police are treating the assault as an anti-Semitic incident.
The alleged attackers, aged 14 and 15, called the Jewish boy, his sister and brother “dirty Jews” at the park where they were playing, Le Parisien reported, based on police sources. According to BNVCA, all four suspects are of Arab descent.
The Jewish children were lighting firecrackers, a Purim custom in some Jewish neighborhoods in Europe. In recent years, communal leaders and Jewish school directors have forbidden the use of firecrackers and toy guns during Purim due to security concerns.
The alleged attackers are believed to have waited for the boy while he attended service at a nearby synagogue and assaulted him after he exited.