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2 French adolescents are accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, motivated by antisemitism

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Two adolescent boys in a Paris suburb have been given preliminary charges of raping a 12-year-old girl and religion-motivated violence, French authorities said Wednesday. A Jewish leader said the girl is Jewish.

The attack elicited widespread shock and concern, notably after a surge in antisemitic acts in France since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

The girl reported a rape in the town of Courbevoie on Saturday, and three boys, aged 12 and 13, were detained, according to the regional prosecutor's office.

It said two of the boys were given multiple preliminary charges on Tuesday, including aggravated gang rape on a minor younger than 15, violence and public insult motivated by religion, death threats, attempted extortion and unlawfully recording or broadcasting sexual images.

The prosecutor's office did not specify the girl's religion or release her identity, according to policies for the protection of victims, as is standard practice for hate crimes in France.

Later, lawyer and Jewish leader Elie Korchia said in an interview with French broadcaster BFM that the girl is Jewish and that Palestine was mentioned during the attack. French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the girl was "raped because she's Jewish", identifying it as an antisemitic attack.

The two boys are being held in custody pending further investigation, the prosecutor's office said. The third boy was named as an assisted witness to the alleged rape, and placed in a special education program. The prosecutor's office said the three boys "expressed regret towards the victim without addressing their involvement."

Political leaders across the spectrum denounced the attack. France is in the midst of a blitz campaign for snap parliamentary elections on June 30 and July 7, and the frontrunner far-right National Rally party has sought to make security and immigration key campaign issues.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described the attack as "awful," and said police were limited in their ability to prevent such violence. "It's a problem of the parents...of authority. It's a problem of society as a whole," he said on BFM television.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds of people gathered in front of Paris City Hall to protest antisemitism. Many in the crowd were holding placards, including some bearing the slogan "raped because she's Jewish."

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