Distraught parents of Jewish girl, 12, who was gang-raped by teens ‘because of her religion’ in Paris say the attack was an ‘imitation’ of the horrors carried out by Hamas on October 7

The distraught parents of a 12-year-old Jewish girl who was raped in Paris have broken their silence to share their fears their child was attacked ‘because of her religion’ in what they believe was an ‘imitation’ of Hamas’ October 7 attacks in Israel.

‘For me, it is a clearly anti-Semitic attack which is linked to the importation into France of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,’ the girl’s bereft father told Le Parisien on Monday.

The girl’s mother added that they understood one of the attackers asked their daughter ‘What religion are you?’ before the attack.

‘He had learned that our daughter was Jewish and he deduced that she was necessarily “pro-Israel” and anti-Palestinian. The reality is very different since our daughter, like ourselves, is for the peace camp,’ she said.

In a candid first interview, the girl’s mother said her daughter had suffered ‘harassment’ at school since the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated last October, that peers started with fascist salutes in November, drew swastikas on desks and made jokes about the Holocaust.

Urging people to distinguish between the conflict in the Levant and the blight of anti-Semitism festering in France, she acknowledged: ‘We are not experiencing residual anti-Semitism but a heavy, visible, palpable anti-Semitism’.

The girl from Courbevoie said she went to the Henri Regnault square (pictured) with her boyfriend when three teenagers grabbed her and took her to an abandoned hangar on the site of an old nursery nearby

People attend a demonstration against anti-Semitism in front of Paris City Hall after three teenagers aged 12 to 13 indicted in Courbevoie, accused of rape and anti-Semitic violence against a 12-year-old girl, in Paris on June 19. Slogan reads: 'It could have been your sister'

People attend a demonstration against anti-Semitism in front of Paris City Hall after three teenagers aged 12 to 13 indicted in Courbevoie, accused of rape and anti-Semitic violence against a 12-year-old girl, in Paris on June 19. Slogan reads: ‘It could have been your sister’

Protesters hold placards which read "Anti-Semitism is not residual", "+1000% in anti-Semitic acts, these aren't just figures", "Our lives are worth more than the imported conflict" and "Raped Jewish girl, Republic in danger" as they gathered to condemn the alleged anti-semitic gang rape of a 12 year-old girl, during a rally on Lyon Terreaux square in Lyon on June 18

Protesters hold placards which read “Anti-Semitism is not residual”, “+1000% in anti-Semitic acts, these aren’t just figures”, “Our lives are worth more than the imported conflict” and “Raped Jewish girl, Republic in danger” as they gathered to condemn the alleged anti-semitic gang rape of a 12 year-old girl, during a rally on Lyon Terreaux square in Lyon on June 18

The young girl, named only as ‘A.’ to protect her identity, was kidnapped and assaulted by two boys in a park in Courbevoie, northwest of Paris, on June 15.

The victim said she knew one of her attackers, and she was reported to have been issued death threats before their arrests two days later.

The girl’s parents claimed the attackers were incensed that A. lied about her religion and questioned her on her background.

‘Obviously, this F. [suspect] couldn’t stand the fact that she could have lied to him about her religion,’ the girl’s mother said.

Since the attack, little more than a week ago, the victim remains in shock, closed off to speaking about her experience and suffering flashbacks at night.

‘It’s a pretty painful daily life,’ her father told the French outlet in an exclusive first interview.

An investigating source said after the attack: ‘The girl went out with her parents’ permission on Saturday at 3 p.m. to meet her current boyfriend.

‘She was approached by two teenagers and dragged by force into a shed connected to a disused nursery, as she was returning home through a park near her parents’ house in a tower block in La Défense.

‘A third minor then joined them, and insulted the young girl about her religion, calling her a dirty Jew.’

The girl was beaten, thrown to the ground and photographed using mobile phones, according to the victim’s initial witness statement.

The boys allegedly said they would use the images to blackmail her, before saying they would burn her, while placing a lighter by her face.

It later emerged the girl’s boyfriend was sent a video of her sobbing during the ordeal.

Various sex acts were performed on the girl, and she was allegedly told she ‘would be killed’ if she spoke to police.

One of the attackers is said to have asked the girl to return the next day to give him 200 euros – about £170 – as part of a blackmail plot.

A gynecological examination confirmed the girl had been repeatedly raped, and soon afterwards the accused were arrested. 

According to reports in French media, the boys all come from the neighbouring suburb of Rueil-Malmaison.

Two, aged 13, have been indicted for ‘gang rape, death threats, and insults and violence of an anti-Semitic nature’.

If found guilty, they could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in a youth section of an adult prison, Nanterre prosecutors have indicated. 

A third suspect, aged 12, was given the status of ‘witness to rape’ and charged with connected offences.

The parents expressed concern their daughter’s ‘affair’ could be used for political purposes, but linked the rise in anti-Semitism in France to the conflict in Gaza ‘several thousand kilometres away’.

‘In our opinion, there is a mimicry between the acts perpetrated by Hamas terrorists in the kibbutz and what our daughter suffered just down the street from us in Courbevoie,’ the girl’s mother acknowledged. 

Reports of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe have risen in a number of states since the conflict erupted in October.

In November, more than 200 paintings of the Star of David appeared to mark buildings in Paris an act the Union of Jewish Students of France said was designed to mirror the public identification of Jewish people with armbands in Nazi Germany.

Little more than a month after Hamas’ attack in Israel, the French Interior Ministry said 1,247 anti-Semitic incidents had been reported since October 7, nearly three times the total for all of 2022.

Protesters hold a banner during a rally against antisemitism in Paris, France, on June 20 as hundreds gathered following the rape of a girl near Paris on June 15

Protesters hold a banner during a rally against antisemitism in Paris, France, on June 20 as hundreds gathered following the rape of a girl near Paris on June 15

A protester holds a placard reading 'anti-fascists equal against antisemitism' during a rally in Paris on June 20

A protester holds a placard reading ‘anti-fascists equal against antisemitism’ during a rally in Paris on June 20

In April, a Jewish woman was allegedly raped and threatened with murder by a man who sought to ‘avenge Palestine’ in France.

A 32-year-old man was charged with issuing ‘death threats due to religion’ and use of narcotics following his arrest in Gennevilliers.

Police sources said the suspect had taken the woman’s phone and texted her mother and ex-boyfriend after taking her captive in an apartment on avenue Chenard-et-Walker.

To her parents he wrote: ‘Good luck, you will never find your daughter again, you will never see her again, I will desecrate your daughter.’

To the former boyfriend he wrote that he wished to ‘avenge Palestine’.

The victim was able to alert police when she recovered her phone and called her mother for help, prompting the geolocation of her call and an arrest later that day, initially suspected of kidnapping.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is complex and multi-faceted, but flared up in October with Hamas’ deadly incursion into southern Israel.

Hamas is the de facto authority in Gaza, a Palestinian enclave on the Mediterranean coast.

Hamas gunmen, joined by allies, swept through kibbutzim – small villages – in Israel and killed an estimated 1,170 people, mostly civilians.

Around 240 people were also taken back into Gaza as hostages.

Protests have erupted worldwide in the months since, with attention falling on Israel’s devastating retaliatory offensive in Gaza, killing more than 37,600 people, according to the local health ministry.

The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and basic goods to Gaza, which is now totally dependent on aid. The top United Nations court has concluded there is a ‘plausible risk of genocide’ in Gaza – a charge Israel strongly denies.

Many Palestinians believe they were pushed out of their homeland in 1948 with the creation of Israel as the British ceded their mandate, struggling to manage local uprisings.

Repeated failures to find a workable solution, and the building of illegal Israeli settlements in the years since, has fomented distrust in Western governments and seen support rise for violent revolutionary tactics.

The United Kingdom has proscribed Hamas’ military wing as a terrorist organisation since 2001, extending the proscription to in November 2021 to the group as a whole. 

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