French police to probe whether brutal killing was antisemitic

French authorities are set to investigate whether the killing of a Jewish man earlier this month was motivated by antisemitism


Frontgate of a french police station with the

French authorities are set to investigate whether the brutal killing of a Jewish man earlier this month was motivated by antisemitism, despite the assailant confessing that he targeted the victim because he was Jewish.

34-year-old Eyal Haddad, a Jewish man living near Paris was killed by his neighbour Mohammed Dridi on 19 August.

According to the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), Haddad hails from Djerba, Tunisia, while his family resides in Beersheba in southern Israel.

According to the Times of Israel, the French-Jewish advocacy organisation alleged that Dridi used an axe to smash the skull of his victim and that he subsequently burned his face and began to bury the body in Longperrier, a town northeast of the French capital.

The 24-year-old, who handed himself in to local police, has since confessed that he killed Haddad because he was Jewish, and claimed that the victim owed him 100 euros.

After the news of the killing was made public on Sunday, a slew of organisations and individuals moved to condemn the killing and demanded that speculations that it may have had an antisemitic motive be investigated. 

The World Jewish Congress stated in a Twitter post: “Extremely disturbing reports from #France that a #Jewish man was murdered last week.

“We echo our affiliate @Le_CRIF that all possible motivations for the murder be investigated, including the possibility that #antisemitism was a factor. Our condolences to his family.”

Former UN speechwriter Aviva Klompas, a co-founder of Israel education think tank Boundless, said: “His [Haddad’s] death is a horrific tragedy. The ensuing silence is an outrage. 

“Where is the media? Where are the French authorities? Where is the EU? Raise your voice and demand action”

An activist for Éric Zemmour’s Reconquête party Damien Rieu tweeted: “Still no press article to inform us about the circumstances of the death of #EyalHaddad?” 

Milan-based i24 journalist Marion Bernard has shared an alleged 2019 Facebook post from Dridi's profile, appearing to show him burning an Israeli flag while donning a balaclava decorated with the Algerian flag.

There is also a screenshot circulating that appears to show Dridi sharing a Facebook post that mocks Orthodox Jews.

However, Rabbi Moshe Levin, senior advisor to France's Chief Rabbi told the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the killing had already been investigated by police who had concluded that it was not antisemitic.

It comes after a slew of attacks on France’s half-a-million-strong Jewish community in recent years.

In 2022 two Jewish men have been killed in circumstances suspected to have been antisemitic in nature.

In May, 89-year-old René Hadjaj died after being pushed off his apartment's balcony in Lyon. A prosecutor has now admitted that the attack may have been motivated by antisemitism.

31-year-old Jérémy Cohen was killed in February after he was hit by a tram while fleeing from a dozen gang members in Bobigny, Paris. His family and various public figures have suggested the attack may have been antisemitic.

In 2018 85-year-old Mireille Knoll was murdered by two assailants in her Paris apartment. One killer was found guilty of murder while the other was convicted of theft with antisemitic motives. 

Retired French-Jewish doctor and schoolteacher, 65-year-old Sarah Halimi died after being beaten and fatally thrown from her balcony by a neighbour who had previously directed antisemitic abuse at her. Authorities did not categorise the killing as antisemitic in nature.

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