Two teenage girls have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to blow up a synagogue in Lyon, Newsweek reported on Friday, citing French news websites.
According to JSS News and Europe 1, a source from the French security agency the Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence revealed that two Muslim girls, aged 15 and 17, were arrested in the Tarbes and Venissieux neighborhoods a week ago, after authorities uncovered a plan to carry out a suicide bombing inside the Great Synagogue of Lyon.
The two were indicted on August 22 for conspiracy to commit terrorism, reported Newsweek.
An unnamed security source also revealed that the two teenagers had never met, but communicated only via social media.
“These girls were part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services,” the source was quoted as having said. Security services are becoming increasingly concerned with online radicalisation, particularly following the proliferation of videos created by jihadist groups such as Islamic State.
Anti-Semitism has been on the increase in France over the last few years, but there has been a surge in anti-Semitic incidents since Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s self-defense military operation in Gaza to end the rocket attacks from that region.
Protests in Paris during the fighting in Gaza were initially banned but held anyway and descended into chaos.
There have been anti-Israel protests throughout Europe as well, including many which have descended into anti-Semitism. In Berlin, footage of one such protest showed hundreds of demonstrators chanting in German, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight on your own”.
“Jews in France or Belgium are being killed because they are Jews,” Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), told Newsweek.
“Jihadism has become the new Nazism. This makes people consider leaving France,” he added.
In a statement released on an online forum, the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), one of France’s leading anti-Semitism watchdogs, remarked that synagogues have become increasingly popular targets for Islamists and terrorists. The excessive measures taken to secure Jewish places of worship have turned them into “semi-fortresses”, they said.
BNVCA attribute the recent spike in anti-Semitic crimes in France to the influence of unnamed political parties and sections of the media, which “pillory the Jewish state fighting against the Islamic state in Gaza”.
They also called upon the French Interior Minister to take all possible security measures to foil further attacks, particularly during important Jewish festivals like Yom Kippur, which begins in early October. “Jewish citizens are increasingly pessimistic about their future in France,” the statement added.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)