Killing of Holocaust survivor treated as anti-Semitic attack

Arrest Police have arrested two men in connection with the death of Ms Knoll in her flat on this road in Paris and say that while they are investigating the possibility there is so far no evidence of anti-Semitism

The Halimi murder became a national scandal when French authorities initially declined to investigate it as an anti-Semitic attack, despite revelations that her family had testified that the suspect had confronted her with verbal slurs on a regular basis. She had been stabbed multiple times before her flat was set on fire.

Mireille Knoll was found stabbed to death and partially burned after her attackers reportedly tried to set fire to her apartment in a working-class suburb in the French capital.

France's Jewish population - the largest in Western Europe - has warned of increasing anti-Semitism in the country and criticized authorities for not taking the threat seriously.

"I reaffirm my absolute determination to fight against anti-Semitism", he said.

Two people have been charged with murdering the 85-year-old, who escaped a mass round-up of more than 13,000 Jews in Paris during World War Two.

The Paris Prosecutors Office opened a formal investigation on Monday, with police sources telling France Info radio that a judicial investigation into the murder had been opened, "on the grounds, whether true or supposed, that the victim belonged to a religion".

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The Grand Rabbi of France wrote on Twitter: "Horrified by the tragic loss of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll, nearly a year to the day after the murder of Sarah Halimi-Attal".

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said it was plausible that Knoll was murdered because she is Jewish. "We can not yet say if the motive for the murder was anti-Semitism but it is reasonable to assume, it will not be surprising and, therefore, this only strengthens the fact that this struggle has not ended, and that we will need to continue fighting against anti-Semitism". Mr Habib said Ms Knoll was able to escape from the roundup 'thanks to her mother's Brazilian passport'.

Earlier this month while addressing a local Jewish organization, Maron called anti-Semitism the "shame" of France.

Thousands of Jews were taken to the Velodrome d'Hiver cycling track that year and sent on to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Knobel went on to say that the difficulty of the recent murders of Knoll and Halimi is that they took place in their own homes, behind closed doors, where they should have been safe. In a statement, the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) condemned the "barbarity of this murder" and urged transparency from the authorities so "the reasons for this barbaric crime are known to all as soon as possible".

Jewish groups in France regularly complain about growing anti-Semitism, saying they are routinely targeted by radical Islamists and far-Right activists. In 2012, four people were killed, including three children, outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

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