(JTA) – Two Jewish men were attacked in Paris by a gang estimated at 40 people.
The victims, in their early 20s, were slightly injured in the Friday afternoon attack in an area that is home to many Jewish-owned businesses, according to a report by France’s National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. The assailants were identified as members of Gaza Firm, a pro-Palestinian group that is involved in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, according to JSSNews, which first reported the attack.
The attack took place on Voltaire Boulevard, the site of the 2006 kidnapping of Ilan Halimi, in the 11th arrondissement, or district.
Members of the Jewish community volunteered to protect the Jewish-owned businesses in the wake of the attack, according to BNVCA.
Police sent officers to the scene to prevent an escalation and have opened an investigation into the attack.
Halimi was a 23-year-old French Jewish phone salesman who was tortured and starved for more than three weeks while a gang negotiated with his family to obtain ransom. He was found naked and handcuffed in a Paris suburb on Feb. 13, 2006, with burns on 80 per cent of his body, and died on his way to the hospital.
Some 851 anti-Semitic acts were registered in 2014, compared with 423 the previous year, with acts of physical violence jumping to 241 from 105, according to the SPCJ security unit of French Jewish communities.
Meanwhile, a memorial plaque honouring Halimi was vandalized in suburban Paris.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Sunday that the plaque in Bagneux was damaged and an investigation was launched, the Associated Press reported. The plaque was erected in 2011, the French news agency AFP reported.
“It’s outrageous, unacceptable, I am extremely shocked,” the southern Paris suburb’s mayor, Marie-Helene Amiable, told AFP. She called the plaque “a powerful symbol for our town.”