French Police Shoot Suspect Linked to Synagogue Arson

( – On Friday May 17, police in Rouen, France shot and killed a suspected arsonist on the roof of the synagogue that he had allegedly set ablaze.

The man, an Algerian national, was holding a knife and a chisel when police confronted him. Upon being discovered on the rooftop of the synagogue, he apparently threw the chisel at one of the police officers and then ran at him with his knife raised. The 25-year-old officer fired five times, hitting him four times. Smoke was still rising from the ruined building.

Although he was not carrying identification during the altercation with French police, the alleged arsonist is believed to be a 24-year-old Algerian who had been denied a French residency permit in 2022. The top prosecutor in Rouen, Frédéric Teillet says the man had applied for residency for medical reasons and had lost his appeal regarding the situation in January. Although not considered a risk for extremism, he was wanted in regard to his expulsion order.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has praised the young officer who was forced to shoot the suspected arsonist. He added that he was right to do so in the face of a particularly dangerous situation with a particularly violent person. He went on to state that the officer will be decorated for his “extremely courageous, extremely professional” behavior in the case. Rouen public prosecutor Frédéric Teillet commented that the investigations into the arson, and the police shooting are both ongoing.

Recently, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal claimed that there has been a sharp rise in antisemitic acts in France since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. He went on to point out that at 360 antisemitic incidents this year, there has been an overall 300% increase. Just days before the arson attack on the synagogue in Rouen a Holocaust memorial in Paris was vandalized with graffiti of red hands. Just behind Israel and the United States, France is the home of the third largest community of Jewish people in the world.

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