Man shot dead in France after trying to set fire to Synagogue and attacking police with a 'knife'

Emergency services at the scene in Rouen​

Emergency services at the scene in Rouen

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 17/05/2024

- 07:53

Updated: 17/05/2024

- 10:07

France recently raised its national alert level to the highest level

French police officers have "neutralised" an armed individual who was intent on setting fire to a synagogue.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the incident took place in the town of Rouen in northern France.

Rouen mayor said in a post the Normandy town was "battered and shocked." Local media reports the suspect rushed towards officers with a knife.

According to local authorities, the attacker's identity and motive are still unclear and that he was carrying a knife and iron bar when the incident occurred.

\u200bThe synagogue in the Normandy town

The synagogue in the Normandy town


President of France's Consistoire Central Jewish worshippers body Elie Korchia said police had "avoided another antisemitic tragedy".

Regional broadcaster France 3 said fire fighters were on the site. The fire had been brought under control, a Rouen city hall official said.

Mayor of Rouen Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol said: "Through this attack and this attempted fire at the Rouen synagogue, it is not only the Jewish community that is affected. The entire city of Rouen is bruised and in shock."

France hosts the Olympic Summer Games in two months and recently raised its alert status to the highest level against a complex geopolitical backdrop in the Middle East and Europe's eastern flank.


A police officer walking

A police officer walks near the scene after police shot dead an armed man earlier who set fire to the city's synagogue in Rouen, France


The city in 2016 was rocked by an attack later claimed by the Islamic State, when a priest was killed with a knife during service in town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, in the southern part of Rouen's urban agglomeration.

It comes just days after Mohamed Amra, a fugitive known as "The Fly", was freed by gunmen in a brazen attack against a prison van that killed two guards and wounded three.

A Peugeot car that had been stolen a few days earlier rammed into the front of one of the prison vans, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said.

Armed men got out of the Peugeot and were joined by another crew who got out of an Audi, before they opened fire on the two vans. Two officers were killed and three critically wounded. The assailants then sped off with Amra.

Evreux prison, Normandy,

The Evreux prison, Normandy, a day after one of its inmate, Mohamed Amra, was freed by gunmen in a murderous motorway attack


Two burned out vehicles that were found nearby are now undergoing forensic examination, Beccuau said.

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