A Jewish man has been stabbed in France by an attacker heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” in the latest attack to shake the country.
The victim, Chalom Levy, was taken to hospital after the assault in Strasbourg on Friday morning and is expected to make a full recovery.
Police arrested the attacker at the scene and were holding him in custody while investigating his motives.
Mendel Samama, a local rabbi and good friend of Mr Levy, told The Independent the 62-year-old victim was wearing a Jewish kippa when he was targeted.
“He had been shopping for Shabbat [the Jewish day of rest on Saturday] and he was walking back home when it happened, on the corner right by his house,” Mr Samama said.
“He was stabbed once and the guy shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, and when he took the knife out to stab him again he ran away.
“I don’t know how he had the power but he managed to run to a bar. I think it saved his life.”
The bar staff barricaded the doors and called the emergency services while helping Mr Levy.
He has been taken to hospital to be treated for a stab wound to his abdomen, which missed any vital organs.
After visiting his friend, Mr Samama said: “He’s in shock, when I spoke to him he was crying. He told me he thinks it’s a miracle, he told me ‘I think God saved me today’.”
The suspect, said to be mentally ill, is believed to be known to police in relation to another attack on a Jewish victim in 2010.
Mr Samama said the man had recently been held in a psychiatric hospital and that Mr Levy’s family were demanding to know why he had been freed.
He described Mr Levy as a gentle man who “loves taking care of people”.
The grandfather lives with his wife in Strasbourg and is retired, having formerly worked at a local factory.
“He is a very quiet man, a gentle man – he is the type of person you would love to have in your family or in your community,” Mr Samama said.
Judicial police are investigating the suspected anti-Semitic attack, which came in Strasbourg’s Jewish quarter at around 11.45am local time (10.45am BST).
Officers have not confirmed any motive or possible link with foreign terrorist groups.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which raised tensions after a series of stabbings and attempted killings by Isis supporters elsewhere in France and Europe.
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