Two French kosher grocery stores were gutted in an arson attack Tuesday, reviving anti-Semitism fears three years to the day since a terror attack on a Jewish supermarket by Muslim terrorist.
Prosecutors said the store in the southern Paris suburb of Creteil caught fire in the early hours, days after it was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.
“I just feel sick,” said the store’s owner, a 44-year-old Muslim who asked to remain anonymous.
“I’m Muslim. I work in a Jewish shop. There is no incompatibility there,” said the businessman, who was briefly hospitalized with shock after seeing the extent of the damage.
Anti-semitism watchdog BNVCA said that the attack was intended to “punish” the Muslim owner for his links with the Jewish community.
A source close to the police probe said it was “too soon to discuss motives”, though Creteil prosecutor Laure Beccuau said investigators do not believe the fire was an accident.
The Promo & Destock store was one of two neighbouring kosher shops in working-class Creteil that were daubed with swastikas last Wednesday.
The second store was also slightly damaged in the fire.
Israel’s ambassador to France Aliza Bin Noun called the fire a “shameful provocation” on the third anniversary of the January 9, 2015 attack at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in eastern Paris.
That terror attack came two days after Coulibaly’s close friends Muslim terrorists Said and Cherif Kouachi gunned down 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the first of a wave of jihadist attacks in France.
Though the exodus has since slowed, a string of anti-Semitic crimes have continued to worry one of Europe’s biggest Jewish communities, numbering an estimated half a million.