French police kill man trying to set fire to synagogue

French Jewish community has for months been on edge in face of a growing number of attacks

May 18, 2024
Police and fire brigade stand by a synagogue in the Normandy city of Rouen where French police have killed earlier an armed man who was trying to set fire to the building on May 17, 2024. — AFP

ROUEN, France: French police on Friday shot dead a man armed with a knife and a crowbar who tried to set fire to a synagogue in the northern city of Rouen, adding to concerns over anti-Semitic violence in the country.


The French Jewish community, the third largest in the world, has for months been on edge in the face of a growing number of attacks and desecrations of memorials.

Emergency services were alerted after a fire was detected at the synagogue, with the man spotted on its roof brandishing an iron bar and a kitchen knife, the prosecutor handling the case said.

Smoke was coming out of one window at the synagogue, Rouen prosecutor Frederic Teillet told reporters.

The attacker ran towards one police officer threatening him with a knife. The officer then “shot him five times, hitting him four times”, the prosecutor said. The man died at the scene.

The attacker, who has not been identified, was subject to an order to be expelled from France but it had not been carried out because of an appeal, a source close to the case said.