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Italy beefs up security after Orthodox Jew stabbed in Milan

November 13, 2015

ROME (AP) — Italy beefed up security around Jewish and Israeli targets Friday after an unknown assailant stabbed an Orthodox Jew seven times near a kosher pizzeria in Milan.

The victim, an Israeli citizen identified by Milan’s Jewish community as 40-year-old Nathan Graff, was attacked from behind Thursday evening and suffered three wounds to the back, three around the face and one to the arm, said police spokeswoman Magica Palmisano.

Community officials said the facial cut was the most serious, but that Graff’s condition was not life-threatening. Graff, who is bearded and was wearing a yarmulke at the time of the attack, was recovering at Milan’s Niguarda hospital.

In a statement, Milan’s Jewish community said it hoped the attack was an isolated episode but that security around Jewish sites would be reinforced.

Police said there was no evidence so far to indicate a hate crime and sought to play down the attack. But Interior Minister Angelino Alfano met with the head of Italy’s Jewish communities to discuss what the ministry said was “the commitment of law enforcement agencies to guarantee security for Jewish institutions and the potential sites that those who foment hatred might want to target.”

Milan’s provincial security committee decided to intensify security around Jewish and Israeli targets to the highest levels, a statement from Milan’s prefect said.

Jewish groups condemned the attack. The Simon Weisenthal Center wrote to Alfano demanding armed protection at Jewish schools and synagogues. The Nazi-hunting organization linked the attack to a series of Palestinian stabbings of Israelis in the past two months.

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