The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

15-year-old in custody after knife attack on Zurich Jew

The alleged perpetrator of the knife attack on an orthodox Jewish man in Zurich is in custody. In a video claiming responsibility, he called for the killing of Jews. Politicians and Islamic organizations condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms.

Following the attack on an Orthodox Jewish man from Zurich on Saturday evening, the cantonal security director and president of the cantonal government Mario Fehr (non-party) confirmed the authenticity of a video of the alleged suspect on Monday and spoke of a "terrorist act".

In this video, the 15-year-old comments on his actions in Arabic. He calls for a "worldwide fight against Jews" and expresses solidarity with the Islamic State (IS). This video will be included in the investigation, said Fehr.

The suspect is a 15-year-old Swiss national with a Tunisian migration background. He was naturalized in 2011. Referring to the ongoing investigation, Fehr did not want to disclose whether the alleged perpetrator was known to the authorities and whether they knew how he had been radicalized.

Fehr calls for tougher juvenile criminal law

With regard to the young age of the suspect, Fehr said that the attack should encourage discussions about tougher juvenile criminal law. Means would have to be created to "permanently take such an offender out of circulation".

The youth is in custody, as the Zurich youth prosecutor's office announced on Monday afternoon. Whether he is an individual offender or whether he acted in conjunction with a group is the subject of the investigation.

The victim's state of health improved slightly on Monday. According to Jonathan Kreutner, Secretary General of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG), the man's life was no longer in danger.

"We will not hide"

Kreutner spoke of an exceptionally serious anti-Semitic attack by European standards, which was also aimed at free, open Switzerland. "But we will not hide. Jewish life goes on," he said.

The protective measures for Jewish institutions in the city were increased shortly after the attack. The additional measures are to be maintained for as long as necessary.

Parties from the left to the right and various Swiss Islamic organizations condemned the attack in clear terms in statements on Monday.

Zurich's Director of Justice Jacqueline Fehr (SP) announced a full investigation into the "attack on peaceful coexistence". Hate and exclusion would not be tolerated, everyone should be able to feel safe here.

The SVP caused a scandal at the meeting of the Zurich Cantonal Council on Monday morning with its parliamentary group statement, which located modern anti-Semitism in left-wing circles and among some immigrants from Muslim countries. Cantonal councillors from left-wing parties then left the chamber in protest.


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