Paris kosher store destroyed by fire on attack anniversary

Joann Johnston
January 12, 2018

"The damage is believed to be very severe", prosecutor Laure Beccuau told AFP, adding that police do not believe that the fire was an accident.

President of the Creteil Jewish community Albert Elharrar said Jewish groups believe the shops were deliberately targeted at the time of commemorations for the 2015 attacks. The second store was partially burned as the fire did not take hold as well.

The fire also raised concerns because it broke out three years after a deadly Islamic extremist attack on a kosher market in Paris.

French police stand guard at the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Creteil after two other kosher stores nearby were torched overnight.

The fire occurs three years to the day after the attack of the Hyper Cacher supermarket on Porte de Vincennes, in the 20 arrondissement of Paris, during which four people were killed on January 9, 2015.

That attack came two days after Coulibaly's close friends Said and Cherif Kouachi gunned down 11 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, kicking off a wave of jihadist attacks in France.

"According to the watchdog National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, the criminals wanted to sanction the Muslim manager because he declared he has no problem to sell kosher and Israeli products for the Jewish clientele".

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He was convicted of encouraging his brother Mohamed to carry out a shooting spree targeting Jews and French soldiers, though he was cleared of having a direct role in the attacks.

Figures from the French interior ministry suggest that after a record year in 2015 for anti-Semitic attacks, the next two years saw successive reductions in the number of such acts.

Israel's ambassador to France, Aliza Bin Noun, took to Twitter to condemn "a shameful provocation" which demonstrated the importance of fighting anti-Semitism.

France is home to Europe's largest Jewish community, which makes up around a quarter of Créteil's population of 90,000.

"What has changed over the past three years is the awareness of this level of anti-Semitism", he said.

"These are crimes that must be prosecuted and condemned", he said.

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