As France continues to grapple with growing violent anti-Semitism alarming reports suggest a potentially deadly terrorist attack on a Paris synagogue in broad daylight was thwarted at the very last minute on Saturday.
According to French-language JSS News, a pair of unidentified attackers approached the synagogue, located in the French capital's 20th District, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun. According to reports they began aiming their guns at bystanders and the building itself and pretended to open fire, but fled the scene when they saw armed French police officers guarding the synagogue.
Reports say they escaped on a scooter.
No shots were fired, and the incident took place at a time when few worshippers were in the building, but the shocking incident has left the local Jewish community extremely shaken.
The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism issued a strong statement condemning the incident "with the greatest strength".
It comes as France prepares to extradite Mehdi Nemmouche, a French-Algerian Islamist suspected of carrying out the deadly anti-Semitic shooting at the Jewish Museum in the Belgian capital Brussels.
The suspected terrorist spent over a year fighting in Syria withing the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) one of the most brutal Islamist groups involved in that country's civil war and which in recent days has seized vast swathes of Iraqi territory, including the country's second city Mosul.
Terrorism experts have warned there could be more as battle-hardened terrorists who were born and raised in western European countries make their way back from Syria. Estimates from security agencies suggest there could be more than 1,500 such militants in Syria.
Nemmouche's attack came just over two years after another French Islamist gunman, Mohammed Merah, killed seven people in the southern city of Toulouse, including a rabbi and three Jewish children at a Jewish primary school.
Merah was killed in a police shootout.