France: Four neo-Nazis arrested for planning 'Jew hunt' during soccer match

The men, aged between 45-53, were affiliated with far-right neo-Nazi groups and had intended on "hunting Jews" during a soccer match in Strasbourg.

Finnish neo-nazis start their Independence Day march with swastika flags in Helsinki, Finland December 6, 2018 (photo credit: MARTTI KAINULAINEN/LEHTIKUVA/VIA REUTERS)
Finnish neo-nazis start their Independence Day march with swastika flags in Helsinki, Finland December 6, 2018
(photo credit: MARTTI KAINULAINEN/LEHTIKUVA/VIA REUTERS)

Four neo-Nazi men in France's Alsace region were indicted for possessing and trafficking an "impressive" amount of weapons that were intended for use against Jews, prosecutor Edwige Roux-Morizot said on Friday.

The men, aged between 45-53, were affiliated with far-right neo-Nazi groups and had intended on "hunting Jews" during a soccer match in Strasbourg, she said.

During the arrest, French police seized 18 legal and 23 illegal guns and some 120,000 bullets, as well as neo-Nazi literature, the prosecutor said.

The men were "well integrated into society," Roux-Morizot said, according to the BBC. They were arrested before they managed to carry out the attack.

Anti-Nazi demonstrators hold a placard as neo-Nazi groups attend the ''Day of Honour'' in Budapest, Hungary, February 8, 2020, to commemorate the breakout attempt by Schutzstaffel (SS) troops from Soviet-surrounded Budapest during World War Two. (credit: REUTERS)Anti-Nazi demonstrators hold a placard as neo-Nazi groups attend the ''Day of Honour'' in Budapest, Hungary, February 8, 2020, to commemorate the breakout attempt by Schutzstaffel (SS) troops from Soviet-surrounded Budapest during World War Two. (credit: REUTERS)

French Jews feel unsafe

In a poll conducted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in February, a wide majority of France's Jewish population agree that antisemitism is widespread in France and on the rise, with most Jews and the general public agreeing that it is a major concern in French society.

Reports of antisemitic incidents in France increased by 75% in 2021, according to the Jewish Community Security Service, the French Jewish community’s main watchdog group. 

SPCJ recorded 589 hate crimes against Jews last year, including a 36% increase in physical assaults over 2020. The group released its annual report on Wednesday.

Incidents targeting people – as opposed to communal buildings and institutions – accounted for 45% of all incidents in 2021. Of those, 10% were physical assaults.