French police
French policeiStock

French police have tracked three suspects in last week's defacement of the Paris Holocaust memorial across the border into Belgium, prosecutors said Wednesday, according to the AFP news agency.

The suspects were caught on security footage as they moved through Paris before "departing for Belgium from the Bercy bus station" in southeast Paris, prosecutors said.

Investigators added that the suspects' "reservations had been made from Bulgaria".

The vandals who desecrated the memorial wore hoods to conceal their identities as they painted dozens of blood-red hands on the memorial.

Prosecutors are investigating damage to a protected historical building for national, ethnic, racial or religious motives.

The hands echoed imagery used earlier this month by students demonstrating for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The vandalism was condemned by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said it "damages the memory" both of those who saved Jews in the Holocaust as well as the victims.

"The (French) Republic, as always, will remain steadfast in the face of odious antisemitism," he added.

A recently published report by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) found that French Jews live in fear of antisemitism, with a majority having directly experienced antisemitism.

According to the 900-page report, 86% of French Jews feel that they live under the threat of antisemitic attacks, and 56% feel that the level of threat is significant. 44% reported that following the Hamas massacre of October 7, they refrain from wearing items that would identify them as Jewish in public, such as kippahs and Stars of David.

Previously, CRIF, the umbrella organization of the Jewish organizations in France, published a report which found that antisemitism in France has increased by 1,000% since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.