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French police fatally shoot a man suspected of planning to set fire to a synagogue

PARIS — French police shot and killed a man armed with a knife and a metal bar who is suspected of having set fire to a synagogue in the Normandy city of Rouen early on Friday, authorities said.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin posted on the social media site X that the armed individual was "neutralized."

"In Rouen, national police officers neutralized early this morning an armed individual clearly wanting to set fire to the city's synagogue. I congratulate them for their reactivity and their courage," he said.

National police said the officers were alerted early Friday morning that smoke was rising from the synagogue and came face to face with the man when they got there. The national police information service said the man surged toward officers with a knife and a metal bar. An officer opened fire and fatally wounded the man, police said.

Rouen Mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol said the man is thought to have climbed onto a trash container and thrown "a sort of Molotov cocktail" inside the synagogue, starting a fire and causing "significant damage."

"When the Jewish community is attacked, it's an attack on the national community, an attack on France, an attack on all French citizens," he said.

"It's a fright for the whole nation," he added.

Tensions and anger have grown in France over the Israel-Hamas war. Antisemitic acts have surged in the country, which has the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in western Europe.

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The Associated Press