PARIS -- Tziyon Saadon, a 56-year-old French Jew and history teacher, was walking down a street Wednesday in Marseille, the second-largest city in France, when three men who reportedly sympathize with the Islamic State group repeatedly stabbed him. Saadon, who teaches at a Jewish school in Paris’ 19th district, was expected to make a full recovery.
"They told him they were going to torture him before they killed him," Michele Teboul, a resident of Marseille province, told BFMTV, a local news channel.
The three men approached the teacher on two motorcycles and proceeded to question him about his religion. After the victim told them he was Jewish, they began to stab him while shouting racial slurs, according to a police report.
The attack stopped when police officers approached the scene and the attackers fled, according to French news outlet Liberation.
"The three people insulted, threatened and then stabbed their victim in the arm and leg,” Marseilles Prosecutor Brice Robin told Reuters.
One of the attackers was wearing a shirt bearing “symbols” of the group also known as ISIS, Robin said. A second attacker reportedly used his cell phone to show the teacher a photo of French-Algerian terrorist Mohamed Merah, dubbed the “motorcycle killer.” Merah was aligned with al Qaeda, and claimed responsibility for killing three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, in 2012.
The third attacker filmed the entire incident on his phone, Teboul said.
“Anti-Semitism is a core tenet of Islamic extremist ideology, so attacks on Jews by ISIS sympathizers should come as no surprise,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “Attacks on French Jews have been paired with attacks on France as a whole several times.”
In January, a day after the deadly attacks at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, an ISIS supporter took more than a dozen hostages in kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher in Paris before killing five people.
Wednesday’s attack followed one of the deadliest terror attacks France has seen in decades. Seven attackers allegedly aligned with ISIS carried out six separate targets across Paris on Friday night, killing at least 129 people and injuring hundreds more.