PARIS -- French authorities are searching for an assailant who attacked a man leaving a synagogue in Paris, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said late Saturday.

Darmanin said the alleged attack on a man in his early 60s was "a new antisemitic attack that occurred in Paris" Friday evening. "Everything is being done to apprehend the perpetrator of this unspeakable act," Darmanin said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, Saturday evening.

Reports in French media say that an assailant was seen physically and verbally assaulting a man in his early 60s on Friday around 5:30 p.m. local time as he was leaving a synagogue in Paris's 20th arrondissement.

The assailant kicked and punched the man several times, and shouted an ethnic slur at him, according to a report by French broadcaster BFM, citing police sources.

The victim of the attack was taken to a hospital. The suspected attacker fled on foot, the report also said.

The attack came hours after Darmanin, the interior minister, said he had ordered police prefectures around the country to "immediately strengthen protections" of Jewish communities, particularly around schools and places of worship.

Darmanin said in a post on X that heightened surveillance around places, frequented by "our Jewish compatriots" are aimed to prevent them being targeted because of the " unfolding tragedies in the Middle East. "

A sharp rise in antisemitic acts in France has been reported in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Data from the Interior Ministry and the Jewish Community Protection Service watchdog showed that 1,676 antisemitic acts were reported in 2023, compared to 436 the previous year.

The number of such attacks is on the rise across Europe. In Switzerland, a teenager was arrested on suspicion of stabbing and critically wounding an Orthodox Jewish man on the streets of Zurich, police said Sunday.

In a statement, they said they suspect antisemitism as the motive.