Anti-Semitism in France: Rabbi and two Jews stabbed in Marseille

A Jewish man mourns the deaths of four Jews killed in anti-Semitic attack in Paris in January.Reuters

A rabbi and two other Jews were stabbed by a "drunk mental patient with far-right tendencies" yesterday in an anti-Semitic attack in Marseille, France.

The unnamed attacker, who was known to the police, launched the attack close to a synagogue on Saturday morning.

The attacker was "shouting anti-Semitic slogans during the attack, and kept them up once he had been arrested", according to a judicial source.

Describing the event, a member of the local police force told the Daily Mail: "The attacker initially went for two people, including the rabbi, close to the synagogue.

"Another synagogue worshipper intervened, and he was cut by the knife," the source added. "He's in his 50s and was wounded twice in the stomach.

"The attacker was taken into custody, and found to be extremely drunk. He was a known mental patient with a history of violence."

The assailant was known to have "far-right tendencies" and target people from a "religious and ethnic background" including Jews and Muslims, according to the judicial source.

The man was "not fit enough" to be formally charged, and is being held in a psychiatric hospital.

Marseille has strong links with far-right organisations, including the National Front Party, whose founder, Jean Marie Le Pen, is a convicted racist and anti-Semite.

Police have said the attack on Saturday was not linked with terrorism and the man arrested "had no links to radical organisations whatsoever."

The three victims are recovering in hospital today and none are in life-threatening conditions.

A report commissioned by the EU this year showed that the number of hate crimes towards Jewish people in France doubled to 815 compared to the year before. This is the highest number since 2004, and alarmingly the figures predate the terrorist attack on the Jewish supermarket in January.