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
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
Moshé, an eyewitness who owns a nearby shop, told The Jerusalem
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.
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
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
The defendant, who had grown up in Britain,
was arrested a year later in the Netherlands and extradited to
He had belonged to a number of “far-Right groups.”