Jewish Teacher in France Arrested for Fabricating Story of ISIS Attack

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Zion Saadon, Marseilles on a map of France, French police on patrol (clockwise from left.)
Zion Saadon, Marseilles on a map of France, French police on patrol (clockwise from left.)Credit: Twitter

A Jewish teacher from the southern French city of Marseille who alleged last November that he had been attacked by jihadists was arrested last week for lying to the police, the Mail Online reported.

Zion Saadon, 45, a teacher at the Yavne Jewish school in the city, told police he had been beaten up by three men shouting support for the Islamic State. His complaint came days after 130 people were killed in Paris by ISIS attackers.

He gave police a vivid description of the attack, including telling them that one of the attackers wore "an ISIS T-shirt" and showed him a photograph on his smartphone of Mohamed Merah, the Al-Qaeda gunman who killed four Jews at a Jewish school near Toulouse four years ago. 

Saadon, who spent a night in hospital, insisted that he was a victim of rising anti-Semitism in France.

However, police announced last week that he had been arrested for allegedly fabricating the story.

There were no witnesses to the attack and forensic examinations suggested that Saadon was responsible for slashing himself with a knife. After a three month investigation, police have now decided to charge him with lying to police and disrupting an inquiry. He will stand trial in April.

It was the second incident of its kind in France. In December, another teacher was taken into custody after saying he was attacked by an "ISIS aggressor."  

Stephane Aroule, 45, sparked a full-scale terrorist alert when he said a man wearing a balaclava and brandishing a box cutter and scissors had entered the Jean-Perrin nursery school in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers.

Police took Aroule to hospital, but he was quickly released after it was determined that the scratches on his body were self-inflicted.

He confessed under questioning to fabricating the story in an attempt to spread mistrust and suspicion of Muslims.   

Aroule was placed under formal criminal investigation for "reporting imaginary crimes" - an offence that is punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine.

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