Anti-Semitic insult precedes stabbing of rabbi in Frankfurt

The stabbing of a rabbi in Frankfurt has evoked outrage and concern from local officials and Jewish groups.

Witnesses reported the attacker first spoke to the rabbi in an unfamiliar language as he walked down the street in the German city's Westend neighborhood Friday evening, police spokesman Manfred Feist said. Then, the man said in German, "I'll kill you, you (expletive) Jew," before stabbing him and fleeing.

The rabbi, 42-year-old Zalman Gurevitch from the Chabad Lubavitch organization, was recovering Monday in a hospital as prosecutors announced they increased the reward for information leading to the arrest of his attacker to 4,000 EUR(US$5,400) from 2,000 EUR(US$2,700).

Police were searching intensively for the attacker, who was accompanied by two women, Feist said. The women were being sought as witnesses, not as suspects, Feist said.

The attack has brought expressions of concern and condemnation from local politicians and from Jewish groups. Gurevitch, who police said was recovering after emergency surgery, was visited in a hospital by Volker Bouffier, interior minister for the state of Hesse.

Local Social Democratic party leader Andrea Ypsilanti said the stabbing was "an attack on the peaceful coexistence of religions and was directed against religious tolerance."

The European Jewish Congress said it was "shocked" and urged police to find the attacker.

"The current atmosphere of increased hate crime in Germany leads us to believe that anti-Semitism could be a factor," EJC president Moshe Kantor was quoted as saying in the statement.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova