Mother of Suspect in Antisemitic Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll Arrested by French Police for Evidence Tampering
The mother of one of the two men currently being held by French police for the murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll has been arrested for tampering with evidence taken from the crime scene.
The woman — named in the French media as Zoulikha K. — is the mother of 28-year-old Yacine Mihoub, a neighbor of Mrs. Knoll’s since his childhood. Mihoub and his associate 21-year-old Alex Carrimbacus, whom he befriended during a 2016 prison sentence, are facing the charge of murder aggravated by antisemitism. Mrs. Knoll’s partly-burned body with multiple stab wounds was discovered on March 23 by firefighters who arrived at her Paris apartment to extinguish a blaze started by the two assailants.
Mihoub’s mother is alleged to have cleaned the knife used to stab Mrs. Knoll — later discovered in her son’s bedroom during a search of the family’s apartment by police. On Tuesday, she was indicted with attempting to destroy evidence in order to obstruct the police investigation.
The lawyer representing the Knoll family welcomed the arrest of Mihoub’s mother. “It is fair and logical that a person who has made every effort to destroy evidence is accountable to the courts and civil parties,” Gilles-William Goldnadel told French journalists on Thursday.
The arrest comes as further details of the murder of Mrs. Knoll, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, have been revealed in the French media. While Mihoub and Carrimbacus have accused each other of having struck the fatal blow to Mrs. Knoll, what is not disputed is that the assault on her was conceived by Mihoub.
Carrimbacus, who has a previous record for violent theft, told police that he would not have known that Mrs. Knoll was Jewish had Mihoub not been speaking about “the Jews” and their supposed wealth before the frenzied assault began. He alleged that Mihoub stabbed Mrs. Knoll in the throat twice as he recited the words “Allahu Akbar.”
Mihoub denies having murdered Mrs. Knoll, telling the judge in his initial court appearance, “I considered her a very good neighbor and she knew it.”
But others dispute Mihoub’s account of his role in the murder of Mrs. Knoll – who escaped the notorious 1942 Vel d’Hiv deportation of Jews from Paris by the Nazis and the French police, and was later married to a survivor of Auschwitz.
Several witnesses reported that Mihoub had been spotted at Mrs. Knoll’s apartment earlier on the day she was murdered, where the two had shared a bottle of port wine. This particular detail was revealed with added amazement by French media outlets, given that only last September, Mihoub was arrested for a sexual assault on the 12-year-old daughter of Mrs. Knoll’s daycare nurse. Guy Knoll, the victim’s son, later explained, “My innocent mother had forgiven this act of Yacine’s.”
Mrs. Knoll’s murder came almost a year after the violent killing of another elderly Jewish lady — 65-year-old Sarah Halimi — who also lived alone in public housing in the same Paris neighborhood. While Halimi’s plight at the hands of an Islamist intruder was virtually ignored for several weeks after her murder on April 4, 2017, Mrs. Knoll’s death was widely reported to a shocked public and strongly condemned across the French political spectrum for both its antisemitic nature and its sheer brutality.
One of the several of Mrs. Knoll’s grandchildren who are now living in Israel — IDF intelligence officer Capt. Keren Brosh — appeared alongside Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday, as the two of them participated the 2018 “March of the Living” in Poland.
In a March 30 condolence letter to the Knoll family, Rivlin observed that “the fact that the horrible incident took place only two weeks before the date on which we mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and mourn our victims is even more heartbreaking.” Capt. Brosh wore a photo of her grandmother pinned to her uniform, telling journalists, “I took the picture with me because today I’m here for her, thanks to her.”
.@PresidentRuvi at #MarchoftheLiving with Captain Keren Brosh an Intelligence Officer at the IDF, the granddaughter of Mireille Knoll, the Holocaust survivor who was brutally murdered in Paris this month. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/Pn8BNCxHte
— Embassy of Israel (@IsraelinUSA) April 12, 2018