10/01/2018 01:23 SAST

Kosher Store Near Paris Is Hit By Suspected Arson On Anniversary Of Anti-Semitic Attack

The fire occurred three years after a deadly assault on another kosher market.

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The Promo & Destock store, a French kosher grocery in Créteil, south of Paris, is shown after being destroyed in a fire on Jan. 9.

A French kosher grocery in a Parisian suburb was gutted in a suspected arson attack on Tuesday, exactly three years after a deadly terrorist attack on another kosher supermarket in the capital. 

Photos of the Promo & Destock store in Créteil show extensive damage to its storefront. Agence France-Presse reported that store shelves were “blackened and charred.” An adjacent kosher store was also damaged. 

The fire reportedly started in the early hours of Tuesday. No one was hurt in the blaze. The Promo & Destock store’s owner is a Muslim, according to AFP. 

Just last Wednesday, the two stores were reportedly vandalized with red swastikas. 

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Prosecutors said the store in Créteil had caught fire overnight, days after it was defaced by anti-Semitic graffiti.

Police are still searching for a motive. However, they don’t believe the fire was an accident, AFP reported. The timing of the fire, on the anniversary of the 2015 Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket attack, has revived fears about rising anti-Semitism in France.

Créteil has a sizable Jewish population, according to community leader Albert Elharrar. He said that Jewish groups in his area believe the stores were deliberately targeted.

“There’s a link between the graffiti and the fire,” he told AFP. “It’s clear that they came for no other reason but to attack a kosher shop on the day of the commemorations.”

On Jan. 9, 2015, two days after a terrorist attack at the headquarters of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, French-born militant Amedy Coulibaly seized control of the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes and held its customers hostage. Coulibaly, who had declared allegiance to the self-described Islamic State, killed three customers and a store employee before being shot by police.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, in sash, French President Emmanuel Macron, to her right, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, beside Macron, and Macron's wife, Brigitte Macron, in white coat, join other officials in paying their respects at a memorial outside the Hyper Casher supermarket on Sunday.

In the year following the attack, a record number of Jews from Western Europe decided to emigrate to Israel, CNN reported. Close to 8,000 French Jews made the move, often referred to as “aliyah,” in 2015.

Jews in France have been targeted by several anti-Semitic attacks in recent years. In September, a Parisian gang took a Jewish family hostage inside their home in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis. The family was beaten and robbed during the attack.  

Aliza Bin Noun, Israel’s ambassador to France, called Tuesday’s suspected arson a “shameful provocation” that proves the importance of continuing the fight against anti-Semitism.

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