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French police shoot and kill man attempting to torch synagogue in Rouen

It caused some damage to the synagogue, though no one was hurt.

Rouen, France. Credit: Francois45140/Pixabay.
Rouen, France. Credit: Francois45140/Pixabay.

A man armed with a knife and metal bar was shot and killed by police after attempting to set fire to a synagogue in Rouen, France, on Friday morning—an industrial city on the Seine River perhaps best known for its cathedral painted so often by Impressionist Claude Monet.

The incident drew the attention of law enforcement after smoke was seen rising from the building, allegedly from an item meant to ignite it.

It caused some damage to the synagogue, though no one was hurt, according to news reports. Red handprints related to the cause of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were found on the walls surrounding the shul, where worshippers will head this weekend for Shabbat services.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin posted on X that the armed individual was “neutralized.”

“In Rouen, national police officers neutralized early this morning an armed individual clearly wanting to set fire to the city’s synagogue. I congratulate them for their reactivity and their courage,” he said.

France has seen a spate of antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7 and the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel. Even before then, its Jewish population was on alert throughout the country, particularly in Paris.

A study by the American Jewish Committee released in May showed that younger French people are more likely to hold antisemitic beliefs, and French Jews under 25 years old are more likely to be the target of antisemitic incidents. 

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