French police are investigating an attack on a 53-year-old Jewish man on his way out of synagogue Saturday afternoon, the French edition of The Local reported Monday.
One of three assailants pulled out a knife and the others urged him to stab the Jewish man, saying, "Go on, stab him, Jew," the victim of the attack told Le Parisien. The incident took place as the man was leaving the Saint-Ouen synagogue in the Seine-Saint-Denis area, north of Paris.
The victim, who owns a supermarket and has lived in the area for 15 years, told the French media the first assailant went for the knife after repeatedly calling him a "dirty Jew" and spitting at him.
When the Jewish man asked him to stop, the assailant head-butted him, he told a reporter. "I was bleeding everywhere," he said. Then two others joined the initial assailant.
"They beat me up," he said. "They kicked me in the leg, back, and that's when the first attacker took out a knife."
The Jewish man said he jumped on the knife-wielding assailant to compel him to drop the weapon. The assailants fled after kicking the man in the stomach, The Local reported.
Last year the number of anti-Semitic acts recorded on French soil doubled compared with the previous year, to 851, according to a report by the French Interior Ministry and France's Jewish Community Security Service, known as SPCJ.
Anti-Semitic attacks in France were in the international spotlight after four people were killed in a January 9 attack on the Paris kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher, two days after 12 people were killed in an attack on the Charlie Hebdo newsroom.