Paris police seeking motive in Jewish woman’s murder

The incident has caused a storm within the Parisian Jewish community, with many claiming that the act was motivated by antisemitism.

April 9, 2017 22:36
1 minute read.
French police

French police officers [Illustrative]. (photo credit: REUTERS)

PARIS – French police continued Sunday to investigate the murder of Sarah Attal-Halimi, a 67-yearold Jewish woman from Paris, who was hurled to her death from her apartment window last week.

A 27-year-old Muslim man who lived on the floor beneath the victim was detained shortly after the incident. Following a preliminary investigation, the suspect – apparently known to the police as a small-time criminal – was sent for psychiatric evaluation.

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The incident has caused a storm within the Parisian Jewish community, with many claiming that the act was motivated by antisemitism. Joel Mergui, president of the Consistoire, said Tuesday that the community must allow the police to investigate the incident before branding it antisemitic, though he described the circumstances of the incident as “troubling.”

On Friday, Mergui together with Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia and several other Jewish leaders met with Paris Prosecutor François Molins.

CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewry, said the purpose of the meeting was to convey the distress in the Jewish community over the unanswered questions surrounding Halimi-Attal’s murder. CRIF expressed its confidence in the officials leading the inquiry, and asked French Jews to refrain from publishing unfounded information on social networks.

The prosecutor informed the Jewish leaders that at this stage, they do not have any evidence that the crime was antisemitic.

Halimi-Attal was buried in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery on Thursday. Sources from CRIF told The Jerusalem Post that the investigation is expected to take several days. Police are waiting for Halimi-Attal’s family members to return to France after the shiva in Israel, to see if they can shed more light on the circumstances of incident.

On Sunday morning, hundreds of family members, friends, neighbors, and Jewish leaders took part in a “White March” through the streets of Halimi-Attal’s neighborhood, ending at the building where she lived. Participants recited the Kadish prayer for the deceased. Carrying white roses, they called for a full investigation into the incident.

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