The daubing of dozens of Stars of David on buildings in Paris and its suburbs, widely condemned as anti-Semitic, may have been carried out at the "express demand" of an individual residing abroad, the Paris prosecutor said Tuesday.
An investigating magistrate will now probe what was the intention of the mass daubing of buildings with the stars, prosecutor Laure Beccuau said in a statement, following the arrest of two Moldovans who told investigators they were acting at the behest of a third party.
Beccuau said that around 60 Stars of David had been found daubed on walls in Paris on the morning of October 31 and similar stars also found in outlying regions.
Video footage showed that these inscriptions were made by a woman and man during a single trip, watched by a third person who took photographs. These two individuals swiftly left French territory.
But a link was established with similar images daubed four days earlier which led to the arrest of the two Moldovans in the 10th district of Paris on October 27 she said.
"They said they acted on the command of a third party for renumeration, which was backed up by a Russian-language conversation on their telephone," she said.
Telephone investigations have shown the two Moldovans and those behind the later graffiti were "in touch with the same third person".
"At this stage it is thus not to be excluded that the daubing the stars of David was done at the express demand of an individual residing abroad," Beccuau added.
Tensions have been rising in Paris, home to large Jewish and Muslim communities, in the wake of the attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel on October 7 which has been followed by Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
The graffiti, which for some brought back horrific memories of the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II and deportation of its Jews to death camps, were condemned across the political spectrum.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne described the graffiti as "despicable acts", saying they will not go unpunished.
The two speakers of the French legislature, Gerard Larcher of the upper house Senate, and Yael Braun-Pivet of the National Assembly, have called for a mass march against anti-Semitism this Sunday.
France has recorded more than a thousand anti-Semitic acts since the deadly October 7 attack, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Sunday.
The Paris public prosecutor said it was necessary to investigate "the anti-Semitic nature of the perpetrators' intentions, particularly in view of the geopolitical context and its repercussions in France".