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French leaders condemn three teenagers accused of anti-Semitic rape

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal called the attack on a young girl “absolutely despicable, unbearable and unspeakable.”

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France has been shocked by the news that three boys aged 12 to 13 have been arrested in connection with the rape of a 12-year-old girl, which police say was an act of anti-Semitic violence.

The incident took place in a suburb of Paris. According to the victim’s complaint, she was subjected to verbal abuse, including being called a “dirty Jew” by her attackers. She reported being physically abused, including being kicked, punched and having her hair pulled.

She further claimed that she was raped multiple times by two of the three teenagers, and that one of the three threatened to burn her.

Two of the suspects have been taken into custody and remanded in custody, while the third has assisted witness status.

Later, lawyer and Jewish leader Elie Korchia said in an interview with French broadcaster BFM that the girl is Jewish and that Palestine was mentioned during the attack.

Leaders are speaking out

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the girl was “raped because she is Jewish.”

During an interview with French television channel TF1 on Wednesday evening, Attal urged leaders of political parties not to worsen the already critical situation regarding anti-Semitism in France.

“I call on all political leaders to raise barriers around the issue of anti-Semitism. Enough of the rhetoric that trivializes, enough of the comments that are tolerated, that create a climate in the country that, in my opinion, is deadly. Unfortunately, since October 7, anti-Semitism has been on the rise again in our country.”

He called the incident “absolutely despicable, unbearable and unspeakable”.

The attack comes in the middle of the campaign for snap parliamentary elections, and the leaders of the various parties responded quickly – especially the far left and far right.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing party La France Insoumise, posted on the social media platform

“Solidarity and compassion for the victim and her loved ones. I hope that emergency aid and assistance is properly provided. And that this crime and the suffering it causes is not turned into a media spectacle.”

Marine Le Pen, who heads the far-right National Rally group in the National Assembly, went to X to condemn the attack, while also criticizing the far left, accusing them of exploiting the Israeli-Hamas conflict for their own political gain.

“The recent anti-Semitic attack and rape of a 12-year-old in Hauts-de-Seine is abhorrent,” she wrote. “The increase in anti-Semitic incidents, a 300% increase compared to the first three months of 2023, should be a wake-up call for all French citizens.

“The fact that the far left is scapegoating Jews using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a real threat to social harmony. Everyone needs to recognize this as we approach June 30 and July 7.”

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