US joins France in calling supermarket assault 'anti-Semitic'

State Department spokesman says US condemns attack against Jews in France as "cowardly and anti-Semitic," praising French President Hollande's response.

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January 11, 2015 06:29
1 minute read.
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US Secretary of State John Kerry signs a book of condolences for the attack in Paris, at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., January 9, 2015. . (photo credit: STATE DEPARTMENT PHOTO)

 
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WASHINGTON -- The United States has joined France in characterizing Friday's assault on a kosher supermarket in Paris as "anti-Semitic," after four shoppers became the first casualties in a spike of violent attacks on the Jewish community in recent months.

The attack was the culmination of a violent week for the people of France, which began with a slaughter of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editors at the hands of trained Islamic extremists.

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"We condemn in the strongest terms ‎yesterday's cowardly anti-Semitic assault against the innocent people in the kosher supermarket," Chanan Weissman, a spokesman for the State Department, told The Jerusalem Post.

Addressing the French nation shortly after a pair of hostage crises in Paris on Friday, President Francois Hollande condemned the Jewish deli assault as a "dreadful anti-Semitic attack." The terror attack was orchestrated by Amedy Coulibaly, an apparent associate of the two French nationals responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre two days prior.

"France's historic Jewish community has too often in the recent past been the target of extremist violence," Weissman said. "We commend President Hollande and the French government's firm response to the terror attacks and the tragic loss of life this past week."

The targeting of a kosher supermarket on Friday, where an Islamic extremist and French national killed four and threatened several others, forced Paris law enforcement to shut down the city's main Jewish thoroughfares. The city's Grand Synagogue closed on Shabbat for the first time since Nazi occupation, the Post reported on Friday.

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