(JTA) – French police arrested five people in connection with a home invasion near Paris that prosecutors and representatives of French Jewry said was an anti-Semitic attack.
The suspects – a career criminal in his 50s, three younger men and a 19-year-old woman – were apprehended Tuesday on suspicion that they planned and executed the crime in September at the home of a Sephardic Jewish leader, Le Figaro reported.
The younger men are believed to have broken into the home of Roger Pinto, the president of Siona, a group that represents Sephardic Jews, allegedly as part of a plan devised by the older suspect and the woman, who were not named in the report.
The attackers beat Pinto’s son and wife in the home in the northeastern suburb of Livry-Gargan, the Dreuz news website reported. One of the attackers said “You Jews have money,” according to the family members.
Prosecutors told Le Figaro that the suspects would be charged with a home invasion with aggravated elements of a hate crime. The report did not indicate whether the suspects denied or admitted committing the crimes.
The family members told police that the attackers, who they said were black men in their 20s or 30s, took their credit cards and jewelry, interrogated them for hours about additional items they could steal and threatened to kill them. The men fled after Pinto managed to discretely call rescue services on a mobile phone.
The Pintos were taken to the hospital for treatment. They suffered some minor injuries and were deeply traumatized, according to Dreuz.
The incident was one of several cases in France in recent years in which criminals apparently singled out Jews based on the belief that they have money. The CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities and the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism said the incident was an anti-Semitic attack.
In an unusual move, the Israeli ambassador to France, Aliza Bin-Noun, also condemned the incident on Twitter and asserted it was an anti-Semitic attack.