Members of a French special police unit
Members of a French special police unitReuters

There has been an increase of 45% in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in France over the past year, according to official data released this week.

The data show that the anti-Semitic incidents increased after terrorist Mohammed Merah attacked the Otzar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse six months ago, killing a rabbi and three children.

Merah was a French citizen who claimed to have attended Al-Qaeda-style training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His attack prompted France to present plans for a new anti-terrorism law that will allow authorities to prosecute citizens who attend militant Islamist training camps abroad.

The new data was presented as French police have been conducting an ongoing crackdown on Islamist terror cells in the country.

On Wednesday it was reported that police found bomb-making materials in the probe of an Islamist terror cell suspected of a carrying out a grenade attack on a kosher supermarket last month. 

The suspected leader of the cell, 33-year-old Jeremy-Louis Sidney, was shot and killed Saturday when police tried to arrest him in a dawn raid at his home in Strasbourg.

Police were led to Sidney, a convicted drug dealer who converted to Islam in prison, following forensic examination of the pin of a grenade thrown into the Naouri Sarcelles kosher grocery on September 19. 

Twelve members of the group are being held in custody, and Paris prosecutor Francois Molins has said their remand has been extended at least a day beyond the four-day maximum. The 12 alleged members of the cell, all under 30 and thought to have been born or brought up in France, are also being charged with planning other anti-Semitic attacks.

On Saturday night, blanks were fired towards a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil.