French police shoot man after synagogue was set alight

French police have shot a man after a synagogue was set on fire in the north-western city of Rouen, the BBC has reported. 

The man was reportedly armed with a knife and an iron bar and when he went towards the police, an officer shot and killed him.

Rouen Mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol said the attack on the synagogue did not just affect the Jewish community, but the entire city was "battered and in shock".

Police were called to the blaze in the early morning, and firefighters later brought the fire under control inside the synagogue. 

Damage inside the place of worship was described as significant. 

The head of Rouen's Jewish community, Natacha Ben Haïm, told the BBC that a petrol bomb had been thrown through a small window, setting the synagogue alight. The walls and furniture had been left blackened by the fire, she added.

In February this year in the UK, the Community Security Trust (CST) recorded reports of over 4,100 anti-Jewish hate incidents in 2023, up from 1,662 in 2022 and almost double the previous record of 2,255 hit in 2021.

France has also reported a steep rise in anti-semitic hate crimes since 7 October, when a Hamas-led attack consequently started the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. 


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