The father of Ilan Halimi, whose brutal killing captured nationwide attention spoke out Tuesday about the negotiations with his son's kidnappers. The kidnappers "were just too happy to have a little Jew on their hands," Didier Halimi said in an interview, his first, with the French daily, Le Monde, appearing in Wednesday's edition. Authorities found Halimi, 23, naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks in the Essonne region south of Paris on Feb. 13. He died on the way to the hospital. When, during the course of nearly three weeks of negotiations with the kidnappers, Didier Halimi told them he could not afford the â‚¬450,000 (US$540,000) ransom, they told him to go "ask the Jewish community for the money," he said. Halimi defended the police, who have come under fire from his ex-wife and two daughters, saying, "It's always easy to criticize after the fact," and that officers on the case "worked like crazy." Critics have accused police of initially ignoring anti-Semitic motives in the crime, which captured the attention of top government officials and has revived fears of anti-Semitism in France.