PARIS - An assailant on Monday attacked a rabbi inside Paris’s Beth El synagogue in the Ninth District, home to some of the city’s most important Jewish institutions.

Having gained access to the building, the attacker pulled out a knife and wounded the rabbi – identified by torahbox.com as Philippe Baruch, 50, – in the neck. Baruch’s son was also attacked during the incident.

Moshé, an eyewitness who owns a nearby shop, told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the incident that the attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar,” but was quickly overpowered by members of the congregation before being handed over to local police, who arrested him.

A police source reported that Baruch was not seriously wounded, and that his attacker was a deranged 28-year-old Iranian native who had escaped from a psychiatric facility in Lyon and was still wearing hospital clothing.

The attack took place about one year after the killing of four Jews and three other civilians in southern France by the French-Algerian Islamist terrorist Mohamed Merah.

According to the service handling security in the French Jewish communities, the first eight months of 2012 saw a 45 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks.

The Ninth District also houses Paris’s Great Synagogue, its Chief Rabbinate and the Consistoire, the central consistory set up by Napoleon to administer Jewish worship that today houses the offices of the Union of Jewish Congregations of France.

Monday’s attack bore similarities to a case that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2011 in which the attacker of a French Jewish Orthodox man was declared mentally unfit to stand trial. He critically wounded the man, but was found to be clinically paranoid and possessing an “irrational fear of an international conspiracy.”

The defendant, who had grown up in Britain, was arrested a year later in the Netherlands and extradited to Switzerland.

He had belonged to a number of “far-Right groups.”

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