France: Man Wielding Knife Arrested Outside Jewish School

March 5, 2021 Updated: March 5, 2021

MARSEILLE, France—Police in the French city of Marseille detained a man Friday who was wielding a knife outside a Jewish school and kosher market. Surveillance of Jewish sites in the city has been increased while they investigate his motives, according to local authorities.

France Jewish School
A police officer guards a Jewish school after a man visibly brandished a knife outside a Jewish school and a kosher market in Marseille, southern France, on March 5, 2021. (Daniel Cole/AP Photo)

School security guards noticed the man visibly brandishing a knife outside the Yavne School and then trying to enter a kosher market nearby, where they detained him, a Marseille police spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

The children were briefly sequestered inside the school while police searched for any explosives or accomplices, she said. No one was hurt in the incident and the man’s motives remain unclear, she said. The spokeswoman was not authorized to be publicly named.

France Jewish School
People gather outside kosher market after a man visibly brandished a knife outside a Jewish school and a kosher market in Marseille, southern France, on March 5, 2021. (Daniel Cole/AP Photo)

Police towed away the suspect’s car and cordoned off the area.

A witness said it was a rapid police operation, and described the area as a gathering place for people in the local Jewish community.

France Jewish School
Police officers remove a suspect’s car after a man visibly brandished a knife outside a Jewish school and a kosher market in Marseille, southern France, on March 5, 2021. (Daniel Cole/AP Photo)

“When the students get out of school they buy sandwiches here, buy meals for the sabbath, and a lot of parents from the school get their coffee and croissants there and drink it outside. … He saw this gathering of people,” the witness, who asked only to be identified by his first name, Laurent, told The AP.

France saw deadly attacks targeting a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 and a Paris kosher market in 2015.

By Daniel Cole