A French flag hangs from a window of a restaurant decorated for Christmas holiday season in Strasbourg, France.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Jewish man was stabbed and moderately wounded on Friday in Strasbourg, France, in an attack for which authorities have yet to determine a motive.
According to reports, the attacker shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he stabbed the man, who was described as "belonging to the orthodox Hasidic sect."
The victim, described as a rabbi named Mr. Levy, was recovering at an area hospital in stable condition.
The attacker was arrested, but details of his identity have not yet been released.
The incident occurred less the half a mile from the main synagogue of the city in eastern France inside its Jewish quarter, René Gutman, the city’s chief rabbi, told AFP.
Gutman said that the same suspect was involved in an earlier assault in 2010 against a Jew in the center of Strasbourg.
The northeastern France city, home to some 10,000 Jews, is no stranger to anti-Semitism. In February 2015, several hundred Jewish graves were damaged at a nearby cemetery, garnering condemnation from high-ranking French officials.
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Although the motive for the attack was unclear, and some reports suggested that the assailant may be suffering from mental health issues, France has been on edge in light of a number of terrorist incidents in recent months.
France's government faced criticism of its security record last month in the wake of revelations that one of the assailants who slit the throat of a priest at a church altar was a known would-be jihadist under police surveillance.
President Francois Hollande met interfaith leaders in an effort to promote national unity. But his predecessor and potential opponent in a presidential election next year, Nicolas Sarkozy, said the government must take stronger steps to track known Islamist sympathizers.
The attackers in last month's incident interrupted a church service, forced 85-year-old Roman Catholic priest Father Jacques Hamel to his knees at the altar and slit his throat. As they came out of the church shouting "Allahu akbar" ("God is Greatest"), they were shot and killed by police.
The attack came less that two weeks after another suspected Islamist drove a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing 84 people. Opposition politicians have responded to the attacks with strong criticism of the Socialist government's security record, unlike last year, when they made a show of unity after gunmen and bombers killed 130 people in Paris in November and attacked a satirical newspaper in January.
"All this violence and barbarism has paralyzed the French left since January 2015," Sarkozy, who is expected to enter a conservative primary for next year's presidential election, told Le Monde newspaper. "It has lost its bearings and is clinging to a mindset that is out of touch with reality."Reuters and JTA contributed to this report.
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