Apart­ment-fall death could be hate mur­der

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY SHIRLI SITBON

COURT IN­VES­TI­GA­TORS are ex­am­in­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that the death of a 65-year-old Jewish woman last week in Paris was a mur­der mo­ti­vated by an­tisemitism.

Sarah Hal­imi, a mem­ber of the Ortho­dox Yad Mordechai com­mu­nity, was at­tacked in her home at about 4am. She was then pushed out of her third-floor bal­cony, ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources.

The sus­pect, her 27-year-old neigh­bour, was ar­rested and when po­lice said he was too in­co­her­ent to be ques­tioned, he was taken to a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal for eval­u­a­tion.

The brother of the sus­pect is in prison on drug-re­lated of­fences.

Neigh­bours in the build­ing said the sus­pect had been ag­gres­sive for days be­fore the at­tack.

Sammy Gho­zlan, the head of the BNVCA, an anti-racism watch­dog, has been in con­tact with the vic­tim’s fam­ily and po­lice.

He said: “The sus­pect was ap­par­ently un­der the in­flu­ence of toxic sub­stances. His own fam­ily alerted po­lice that night to have him taken away. Another fam­ily in the build­ing also called po­lice. He was ap­par­ently try­ing to es­cape. Then he en­tered the vic­tim’s apart­ment where he at­tacked her.”

The fam­ily that alerted the po­lice told Jewish news­pa­per Ac­tu­al­ité Juive the killer had forced him­self into their home as well.

“He said he wanted to spend the night in our home. When I re­fused he got vi­o­lent. We’re all trau­ma­tised,” said the neigh­bour, who did not wish to give his name.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are ex­am­in­ing whether the at­tack was a hate crime.

Ac­cord­ing to one al­le­ga­tion cir­cu­lat­ing on­line, the sus­pected killer shouted “Al­lahu Akhbar” be­fore push­ing his neigh­bour to her death.

“Sarah Hal­imi’s son-in-law says the sus­pect and other mem­bers of his fam­ily had re­peat­edly in­sulted them as ‘dirty Jews’,” said Mr Gho­zlan.

France’s com­mu­nity is on edge as it waits for an­swers. Jewish com­mu­nity of­fi­cials have called for calm, ask­ing peo­ple to wait for solid in­for­ma­tion.

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