A Jewish fan of the HaPoel Tel Aviv soccer team was attacked by French fans in Paris Thursday, resulting in a police shooting that left one dead and one injured.
The incident took place at 11 PM at a McDonald’s restaurant near the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, following Tel Aviv’s 4-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in a UEFA Cup match.
Paris fans attacked four French Jewish Tel Aviv team followers after members of the mob identified them as “Jews”. The Jews fled in different directions, and at least one of them, Yaniv Hazout, found himself being chased by a mob.
A plainclothes policeman tossed tear gas grenades in an attempt to disperse the mob and eventually fired two live bullets into the crowd, “after being driven into the corner,” according to the French police.
Two French rioters were injured by the shooting. One, 24-year-old Julien Quemener, later died of his wounds.
Initial reports indicated that the attacked fans were Israelis who came to France to support the Israeli team. It turned out, though, that the attacked fans were local French Jews who came out in support of the Israeli team. Israeli fans were actually kept in the stadium for more than an hour after the game to prevent them from becoming targets of the angry mob, after they insisted on coming onto the field to celebrate the victory.
The spokesman for Hapoel Tel Aviv, Amir Lubin, told Army Radio that French fans were extremely hostile toward the Israelis who came to support their team. "We could hear the chants of the French crowd, which were in no way connected to soccer," he said. "It was obvious that the Paris supporters were enraged by the result of the game, but we didn't imagine it would come to this."
French prosecutors have opened an inquiry into the incident, and placed the officer who fired the shots, Antoine Granomort, in police custody. He was later released, though the investigation continues.
Witnesses told police that the Paris fans were shouting “filthy Jews” and other anti-Semitic slogans at the Jewish fans and would have truly killed them had Granomort, an immigrant from the Caribbean, not fired into the crowd. The policeman himself said he fired in self-defense.
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said many of the Paris fans were chanting “Death to the Jews” during the attack. Five fans are in police custody and may face charges of racism and anti-Semitism.