A French judge has handed preliminary charges of "attempted assassination linked to a terrorist organization" to a machete-wielding teen who attacked a Jewish teacher, in an incident that prompted Jewish officials in Marseille to ask fellow Jews to refrain from wearing their traditional skull cap to stay safe.
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The man was wearing a kippa when he was assaulted with a machete in the southern French city on Monday, allegedly by a 15-year-old Muslim radical who reportedly identified with ISIS. The teacher sustained minor injuries.
The anti-terrorism section of the prosecutor's office in the French capital announced the charges Wednesday evening, two days after the attack that shocked the country, sparking a commendation from the French president and a social media campaign calling on all of France to put on kippas in a sign of solidarity.
"He claimed to have acted in the name of Allah and the Islamic State, repeating several times to have done on behalf of Daesh (Islamic State)," the prosecutor, Brice Robin, told a news conference hours after the attack on Monday.
The teen invoked Allah and the extremist group only after he was detained, saying "the Muslims of France dishonor Islam and the French army protects Jews," he added.
French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that it is "intolerable" that French Jews would have to hide their skullcaps out of fear of attack, AFP reported.
"It is intolerable that in our country citizens should feel so upset and under assault because of their religious choice that they would conclude that they have to hide," Hollande was quoted as saying.
France's Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia urged Jews in France to continue wearing the kippa and form a "united front."
France is still reeling from a series of attacks in Paris on November 13 that killed 130 people and just marked the anniversary of attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store which killed 17 people. In each case, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.