French Police Shoot Dead Man Who Tried to Set Synagogue on Fire

The police shot and killed a man in northern France on Friday after he tried to set fire to a synagogue in the city of Rouen and attacked officers who tried to stop him, the French authorities said.

Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, the mayor of Rouen, a city of about 110,000 people, told reporters that firefighters had brought the outbreak of flames under control and that no one other than the assailant had been harmed.

The identity and motives of the man who attacked the synagogue were not immediately clear.

The authorities in France have raised the alarm about a surge of antisemitic incidents across the country against the backdrop of the war in Gaza. Mr. Mayer-Rossignol said that the episode was still being investigated but that “in all likelihood it is a deeply antisemitic act.”

Anyone who attacks the Jewish community, he added, “is attacking all of France.”

Mr. Mayer-Rossignol said that the police’s initial findings were that the man broke into the synagogue by climbing atop a trash can around 6:30 a.m. He reached the first floor and threw an “incendiary element” inside, starting a fire that caused “significant damage” but did not harm anyone, Mr. Mayer-Rossignol said.

Firefighters and police officers quickly arrived at the scene, Mr. Mayer-Rossignol said. The man came down from the first floor and threw a metal bar at the officers and attacked them with a knife. The officers shot back in response, killing the man, Mr. Mayer-Rossignol said.

Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said in a social media post that police officers had “neutralized” an “armed individual who evidently wanted to set fire to the city’s synagogue.”

Back to top button