A 17 year-old student from the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, where gunman Mohammed Merah murdered three children and an administrator last March, was attacked violently on a train Wednesday night in Lyon, according to the French Interior Ministry.
AFP reported that the victim, who wore “identifiable religious symbols,” was first subjected to verbal insults on the train, according to the official announcement, and “was then attacked in the platform toilets by two individuals who beat him up.”
The attack was interrupted by a passenger and a train controller.
The student immediately registered a complaint with the Lyon authorities and “identities of both perpetrators are now known thanks to the actions of the railroad police,” according to the Interior Ministry’s statement, that also promised to continue “fighting the resurgence of the evil of anti-Semitism,” which signifies “a slight to the history and values of the French Republic.”.
A source close to the investigation in Lyon told AFP that neither of the accused had been summoned for questioning on Thursday morning, after having been caught by the train’s controller.
After filing the complaint, the Jewish youth went on to his family’s home in Lyon.
With the initial stage of the investigation completed, it appears that the victim was beaten up after the two suspects noticed a religious chain around his neck, according to details released by the Interior Ministry, which added that “such acts of extreme violence are unacceptable.”
CRIF, the umbrella representative group of French Jewry, released a statement saying that the latest attack on a young Jewish student “is another development in the worrying trend of anti-Semitism in our country.”
“The number of incidents is continuing to increase, the violence of the acts likewise, as if the murders committed by Mohamed Merad had released the impulse to act,” CRIF said.
It added that it is especially incendiary to speak of “intercommunal conflicts” when discussing these incidents.
“It is always identifiable Jews who are the victims of these attacks. To combat anti-Semitism in France, you have to call it by its proper name and acknowledge the factors that increase it. And we have to make its eradication a national political cause.”
The CRIF hopes that the perpetrators will be subjected to appropriate punishment.