A 21-year-old man from the city of Villeurbanne in southern France was severely injured last week after being assaulted by two men of North African origin, the European Jewish Press reported Monday.
According to the report, Thursday's violent incident occurred as the man headed home from a Torah class at the local synagogue.
The two aggressors allegedly approached the man and asked for his name. After hearing his response, the two told him: "You don’t look to be named Antoine, you look Jewish, you are a Jew."
When the victim confirmed he was Jewish the assailants shot him with a pellet gun and hit him in the head and body. He was rushed to hospital suffering from severe injuries to his abdomen, head and arm.
Local police have launched an investigation. A police source told a French news agency that "the tone heightened between the three youths. There was an exchange of blows and two youths of North African origin took out a gun ball and possibly a truncheon."
Marcel Amsellem, a leader in the CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish organizations condemned the attack. "There is no doubt about the anti-Semitic character of this attack. It’s extremely serious because they used physical violence with a weapon," he said.
The mayor of Villeurbanne also strongly condemned what he called "an intolerable act."