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Anti-Semitism: Zurich attacker radicalised in Tunisia and online

A Zurich city police officer observes the gathering of Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths from a distance, on Sunday 10 March 2024, at Lindenhof square in Zurich to show their solidarity with the victim of the anti-Semitic knife attack by a young Muslim.
Fehr once again described the knife attack on the Orthodox-Jewish man from Zurich as a terrorist attack. "It doesn't help if we call it something else." KEYSTONE/KEYSTONE/GAETAN BALLY

The 15-year-old who attacked an orthodox Jewish man in Zurich on March 2 became radicalised in Tunisia and on internet forums, Zurich's security director said on Monday.

Investigations are still progressing in earnest, Mario Fehr said at the presentation of Zurich’s crime statistics. It is now reasonably clear where the teenager became radicalised. “There is a strong link to Tunisia,” Fehr said.

The young person had lived in Tunisia between 2017 and 2021. Another important factor was internet forums promoting radicalisation, where he spent a lot of time.

Fehr once again described the knife attack on the Orthodox-Jewish man from Zurich as a terrorist attack. “It doesn’t help if we call it something else.” He also repeated his call for the juvenile criminal law to be tightened.

In the case of such serious acts of violence, a tightening of the law would be appropriate, he said. He also believed that the revocation of citizenship made sense in such cases. “I don’t see why we as a society always have to take responsibility for everything that happens somewhere in the world.”

The 15-year-old Swiss national with a Tunisian immigrant background is in custody until further notice. On the evening of March 2, he attacked a 50-year-old Jewish man with a knife and seriously injured him. In a video in Arabic, the teenager declared his allegiance to Islamic State (IS).


Adapted from German by DeepL/dkk/ts

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles. If you want to know more about how we work, have a look here, and if you have feedback on this news story please write to

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