French police arrested a man after he attempted a stabbing attack outside of a Jewish school and kosher market in Marseille, France on Friday morning.
Security guards at the Yavne School in Marseille noticed a suspicious man brandishing a knife outside their premises. Right before the suspect attempted to enter a nearby kosher market, the guards swiftly detained him before he was able to harm anyone, local police told the Associated Press (AP).
The area was a hotspot for the local Jewish community where students and parents often buy food and meals before the Sabbath at the nearby kosher market. (RELATED: 40,000 Jews Have Fled France In 10 Years Amid Rising Anti-Semitism)
#Marseille: a man armed with a knife was neutralized at the entrance to a Jewish school pic.twitter.com/fInGCcEdCt
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) March 5, 2021
Attacks targeting Jews, and more broadly antisemitism, is on the rise globally, especially in France. French Jews have been fleeing from their mother country in the thousands over the years due to skyrocketing hate crimes. Precipitating the exodus of French Jews were numerous violent attacks and public rallies declaring “death to Jews.”
For example, after terrorists killed 17 people at the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine office in 2015, they went on to attack a Jewish supermarket. 3 years earlier, a gunman opened fire at a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing a teacher and three children. The attack was, at the time, the most deadly against Jews in France since a 1982 assault on a kosher restaurant, according to The New York Times.
Furthermore, in 2017 a 65-year-old Jewish woman was brutally attacked in her home by a neighbor. After beating the elderly woman, the attacker threw Lucie Attal off her balcony and yelled “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic. Then, in 2018, a Holocaust survivor named Mireille Knoll, 85, was attacked in her home by two neighbors. Knoll was stabbed eleven times while one of the suspects reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar,” before setting her on fire.
???? Le pire a peut-être été évité sur le boulevard Barry (#Marseille 13e), ce matin à 8h. Un homme d’une soixantaine d’années a été arrêté un couteau à la main à proximité de l’école juive Yavné pic.twitter.com/UrX0QUmXJr
— La Provence (@laprovence) March 5, 2021
Following Friday’s attempted attack, children of the nearby school were sequestered into the school as police searched for explosives on the property and any additional accomplices. Police towed the suspect’s car and closed off the area.
An investigation was ongoing as police search for the motive, which remained unclear.