Suspects charged over death of Jewish woman in Paris
28 March 2018, 01:09 | Katrina Lee
Jewish Holocaust survivor (85) found stabbed to death in Paris flat
France's Jewish community, the largest in Europe, has complained for years of a rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Mireille Knoll was found dead at her apartment in Paris, where she was allegedly stabbed 11 times before her body was set ablaze, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.
Two suspects have been placed under formal investigation on charges of anti-Semitic murder and aggravated theft, according to a judicial source.
"That Mireille Knoll survived the horrors of the Third Reich only to be murdered in present-day France because she was Jewish is unconscionable and reminds us of the ongoing dangers antisemitism holds", Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield said in a statement Tuesday. "Apparently, my mother knew him very well and considered him a son", the victim's son told Agence France Presse.
"Multiple details of the incident were eerily reminiscent of the murder of Sarah Halimi, Hy" d, a 66 year old teacher who was brutally killed by a young Muslim neighbor nearly exactly a year ago.
Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was "plausible" someone killed Knoll exclusively because she was Jewish. "Of course there were risky Muslim extremists, but until today I didn't feel in danger", her son said. He was already suspected by police of sexually harassing the 12-year-old daughter of Knoll's caretaker who lived in her home.
An autopsy showed she had been stabbed eleven times before the apartment was set on fire. In a Facebook post, Habib wrote: "Mireille K. knew the suspect, now in custody: a 35-Year-old Muslim neighbour, a sex offender, whom she had known since he was a child".
The suspect "said that Jews have money, and that was the reason he attacked her", he added.
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Knoll managed to avoid the notorious 1942 roundup of more than 13,000 Jews in Paris by fleeing with her mother to Portugal when she was 10.
Francis Kalifat, head of the French-Jewish community umbrella organization CRIF, said the main suspect was of North African origin.
Just last month, a judge confirmed that the April 2017 killing of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman who was beaten before being thrown out of a window, was motivated by anti-Semitism.
Four years later, an associate of the two brothers who massacred a group of cartoonists at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killed four people in a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron called the crime "horrendous" and vowed to continue his combat against anti-Semitism in the country with "absolute determination".
In 2011, an Islamist gunman shot dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
In recent years, French Jewish groups have repeatedly denounced anti-Semitic attacks.
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