A kosher grocery store in a Paris suburb was destroyed in an arson attack on the third anniversary of the deadly Islamic terror attack on the French capital’s Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket.
The Promo & Destock store in the Paris suburb of Créteil was completely destroyed by fire Tuesday.
“The damage is believed to be very severe,” prosecutor Laure Beccuau told AFP, adding that investigators did not believe the fire was an accident.
The attack on the store comes just a week after it and another kosher store were defaced with swastikas.
Israel’s ambassador to France, Aliza Bin Noun, called the fire a “shameful provocation.” The owner of the grocery store, who is a Muslim, said he was sickened by the attack.
“I just feel sick,” the 44-year-old store owner told AFP. “I’m Muslim. I work in a Jewish shop. There is no incompatibility there.”
According to the French antisemitism watchdog BNVCA, the attack was intended to “punish” the Muslim owner for his links to the Jewish community.
Estimated at around 500,000 people, France is home to one of Europe’s largest Jewish communities. But thousands of French Jews have emigrated to Israel in recent years due to rising anti-Semitism as well as attacks on Jewish targets and people.
Last April, 65-year-old French Jewish woman Sarah Halimi was beaten to death and thrown off her balcony by 27-year-old Kobili Traoré, a French-Malian Muslim man. The slow investigation and reaction by the French government to the murder drew widespread condemnation within the French media and Jewish community. Eventually, France’s President Emmanuel Macron called for a terrorism investigation five months later and the murder was categorized as an anti-Jewish hate crime.