Boy who attacked French teacher claimed radical fealty: prosecutor

A boy who attacked a Jewish schoolteacher in the street Monday in southern France claimed he did it in the name of the Islamic State militant group, prosecutor Brice Robin said.

The teacher was injured in the shoulder and arm when he was attacked by a 15-year-old boy who pursued him after he fought back, Robin said during a press conference in the southern French city of Marseille.

Stating that the attacker, who will turn 16 next week, had targeted the teacher because of the teacher's religious appearance, Robin said the attack appeared to be a pre-meditated act of anti-Semitic aggression.

According to France's Jewish council, Crif, the schoolteacher was wearing a yarmulke while en route to the Jewish school when he was attacked by the youth wielding a machete.

After the boy was taken into police custody, Robin said the boy claimed he had acted in the name of God and the Islamic State organization. The prosecutor said the boy, who had received good marks in a local school and was not known to security forces, had likely been radicalized on the internet.

The boy, a Turkish national of Kurdish origin with legal migration status in France, was from a "quite normal" family, Brice said. He was not flagged for surveillance by the authorities and had no police record.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve decried the attack on social media, expressing his "support for the victim of this revolting anti-Semitic aggression in Marseille."

The case was not immediately transferred to the anti-terrorism prosecutor in Paris. France is under high alert due to multiple terror attacks last year, with security bolstered at prominent Jewish and Muslim sites across the country.

One of the attacks last January targeted a kosher market. In 2012, seven people including four people at a Jewish school, were killed by a French-Algerian man in the south of France, fanning fears of rising intolerance.

Last update: Mon, 11/01/2016 - 19:33

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