Two detained as Paris police probe ‘Russia link’ to Stars of David wall daubings

Arrested Moldovans say they were acting on instructions from Russian, says public prosecutor


Two Moldovans have been detained by Paris police for allegedly painting Stars of David on buildings in the French capital on orders from Russia.

The Moldovans, a man and a woman, both illegal immigrants, told police they were acting on instructions from a Russian living abroad.

Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said their allegations were confirmed by a conversation in Russian on their telephone.

The Moldovans were being held in custody before being deported.

Police believe the operation was an attempt to destabilise the Jewish community in Paris. The daubings of Stars of David were originally thought be the work of pro-Palestinian activists.

However, after the Moldovans were arrested, more Stars of David were discovered on walls in Paris.

In the month since the October 7 attacks, more than 1,000 antisemitic acts have been reported in France, more than twice the total for all of 2022, with swastikas, Stars of David and other graffiti on buildings and schools, a wave of hatred online and some physical attacks.

As the heads of the two chambers of parliament called for a unity march against antisemitism on Sunday, far-left party France Unbowed said it would not attend. Its leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeted that the march is “a gathering for those backing unconditionally the massacre”, as he called the Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip.

France Unbowed’s official position is that France needs “initiatives that unite our people” and that “unity must be found through peaceful goals: the demand of a ceasefire and of the hostages’ release”.

The party also says it’s disturbed by the fact that far-right parties will attend the rally.

Jewish leaders have been alerting people over the risks of this antisemitism “tsunami” while trying to lower the levels of anxiety in the community.

Security forces have deployed outside synagogues, schools and other Jewish buildings.

Elie Korchia, head of the Consistoire, the largest network of Jewish institutions, synagogues and schools, said: “It’s clearly one of the worse times for our community in recent history, but the high number of acts doesn’t mean the situation is worse than in the early 2000 or during the most dangerous times for the Jewish community, when a number of people were physically attacked.

“Most of the acts committed are graffiti, insults, threats and hate messages on social media. And unlike the past, now Jews know they have to report antisemitic acts to authorities and authorities also take those reports very seriously.

The Consistoire, like Jewish umbrella group CRIF, says Jews should continue their religious and cultural practices and traditions.

Police are still investgating the stabbing of a 30-year-old woman in Lyon last weekend. Jewish officials say they are waiting for conclusions from the police investigation before they make any kind of statement.

The alleged victim, found with two superficial knife wounds in her abdomen in her apartment, wrote on Facebook that she is “all right”. According to BFMTV news station she said the stabbing “was a cowardly and serious act but without gravity”.

 A swastika was carved into her front door.

The woman said she answered the door and when she opened it a man stabbed her twice.

She said he was wearing black and had concealed his face. After stabbing her, she says the assailant left the knife and fled. None of her neighbours saw him and the area has few security cameras.

Police are investigating whether it is a case of antisemitism, a family issue, or self-mutilation.

The woman wrote on Facebook: “I have no legitimacy to complain. Thousands of my brothers and sisters are fighting and really suffering from terrorism.” 

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