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French police kill man suspected of setting fire to synagogue in Rouen | Crime News

The local prosecutor said two investigations into an attempted arson and the death of an unidentified suspect were ongoing.

French police have shot dead a gunman suspected of setting fire to a synagogue in the northern city of Rouen, authorities said.

On Friday, police responded around 6:45 a.m. (0445 GMT) after smoke was reported at the synagogue. A man present on the scene, equipped with a knife and a crowbar, allegedly threatened a police officer, who then “used his weapon”, said the Rouen prosecutor.

The man was not immediately identified.

Speaking to the press in Rouen, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin declared that the individual was “particularly dangerous” and “particularly violent”.

“I do not know the exact motivations of this individual. The investigation will tell,” Darmanin said, emphasizing that the Interior Ministry is “doing everything it can” to protect the Jewish community.

This is an Algerian national whose application for a residence permit in France for health care was rejected by the authorities, the minister also specified.

Two investigations were underway, the first into the arson of a place of worship and “intentional violence” against police officers, and the second into the man’s death, according to the prosecutor.

Police respond to the scene after officers fatally shot an armed man accused of burning down a synagogue in Rouen, France, on May 17 (Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters)

The National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office said it was assessing whether it would take up the case, the AFP news agency reported.

Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, mayor of Rouen, said the attack on the synagogue had not only affected worshipers, but the entire city was “bruised and in shock.”

There were no other casualties, he said, posting to X from the scene.

“Tonight is the start of the Sabbath and it is important to light the candles to show that we are not afraid,” the chief rabbi of Rouen, Chmouel Lubecki, told the BFMTV news channel.

The synagogue is in the historic center of Rouen, the main city in the northern region of France, located on the Seine.

A resident, Elias Morisse, who lives across the street from the synagogue, said he heard gunshots and explosions.

“I decided to open the shutters of my apartment, and sure enough I saw smoke coming from the synagogue, the police, the fire department and in the street a body,” Morisse said.

High Alert

France has the largest Jewish community of any country after Israel and the United States, as well as the largest Muslim community in Europe.

Tensions escalated after the Israeli war in Gaza began on October 7, following an attack by Hamas in southern Israel.

Red graffiti was painted on the French Holocaust Memorial earlier this week, sparking anger, notably from President Emmanuel Macron, who condemned “abhorrent anti-Semitism”.

The Rouen synagogue after an attack
The synagogue is in the historic center of Rouen, the main city of France’s Normandy region (Oleg Cetinic/AP Photo)

“Attempting to burn down a synagogue is an attempt to intimidate all Jews,” Yonathan Arfi, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF), wrote on X.

Once again, we are trying to impose a climate of terror on the Jews in our country. Fighting anti-Semitism means defending the Republic.”

In 2016, Rouen was rocked by an attack later claimed by the Islamic State (ISIL) when a priest was killed with a knife while on duty in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in the south of the Rouen metropolitan area.

France hosts the Summer Olympics in two months and has recently raised its alert status to the highest level in the current geopolitical context.

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Gn world

jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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