Two men arrested over the murder of a Holocaust-era survivor who was repeatedly stabbed in her Paris home are suspected of killing her because she was Jewish, a judicial source said on Tuesday.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is in Israel on an official visit, said Monday afternoon following a meeting in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that France needs to "continue fighting against anti-Semitism".
Mireille Knoll, who escaped a mass roundup of Jews in Paris during World War II, was found dead in her apartment in eastern Paris on Friday by firefighters called to extinguish a blaze. The flat was then set ablaze in an apparent attempt to cover up the murder.
Two people were arrested and charged with murder with anti-Semitic motives along with robbery and damaging property, sources told The Associated Press.
"Security has been stepped up at Jewish institutions, and government leaders are now more willing than ever before to speak out against anti-Semitism whenever it rears its ugly head", she says.
"She was a woman of modest means", her family's lawyer, Gilles-William Goldnadel, told AFP.
One of the suspected murderers had a reputation for being anti-Semitic. They didn't confirm reports that the man was Muslim. She was stabbed 11 times before she was set on fire, he said.
After the war she returned to the French capital and married a Holocaust survivor, who died in the early 2000s.
Knoll - who narrowly escaped being rounded up with around 13,000 Jews who were held at a cycling track in Paris in July 1942 before being deported to Auschwitz - had known the suspect since he was seven years old, he added.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron described Knoll's killing as a "dreadful crime" on Twitter and said: "I reaffirm my absolute determination to fight against anti-Semitism".
The CRIF umbrella grouping of French Jewish organisations called for "the fullest transparency" by the authorities investigating the killing.
Jews had become "a particular target" in the terrorist attacks that have hit France in recent years, and were also suffering from "an anti-Semitism that expresses itself with the greatest violence", Kalifat warned.
"People are extremely shocked and very anxious", Marc Knobel, head of studies at French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, told The Local.
Almost 8,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel in the wake of the supermarket attack, in which an employee and three customers were shot dead by an Islamist gunman, The Local reports.
That exodus has since slowed, but a spate of anti-Semitic attacks since have continued to frighten one of Europe's biggest Jewish communities, numbering an estimated half a million.
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