Mireille Knoll was stabbed 11 times in her apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris before her home was set on fire, according to government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, who recounted the attack on Twitter.
The killing of Knoll came a month after a judge chose to treat the murder of a retired Jewish schoolteacher in Paris last April as anti-Semitic, after a long campaign by community groups.
The Paris prosecutor's office said Monday two suspects have been put in custody.
Two people were arrested and charged with murder with anti-Semitic motives along with robbery and damaging property, sources told The Associated Press.
The country's 400,000-strong Jewish community - the biggest in western Europe - has repeatedly expressed concern over the rise of anti-Jewish sentiment.
"In 1942, she escaped the notorious Vel d'Hiv round up of some 13,000 Jews in Paris, who were then deported to Nazi death camps", BBC reported. In a Facebook post, Habib wrote: "Mireille K. knew the suspect, now in custody: a 35-Year-old Muslim neighbour, a sex offender, whom she had known since he was a child". After the Holocaust, she continued to live in Paris and married a Holocaust survivor. Previous year another elderly woman named Sarah Halimi was murdered by a Muslim man who beat her and then threw her out of a 3rd story window.
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On Sunday, a spokesperson for SPCJ, the official monitor and security unit of the French Jewish community, told the 7sur7 news website that a preliminary examination of the crime "does not reveal an anti-Semitic characteristic, but this possibility has not been discounted as police investigate further".
President Emmanuel Macron described the death as a horrific crime. The son said the suspect had visited her that day.
"People are extremely shocked and very anxious", Marc Knobel, head of studies at French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, told The Local. More recently, in Lyon, a Rabbi's infant child suffered minor injuries from a caustic solution that seems to have been purposely placed in her carriage by a passerby; and this past Purim, a Jewish boy was beaten by a group of Muslim teenagers while on his way back from hearing the Megilah read.
"Why we are so shaken by this crime are obvious, but one reason for the additional emotion is that she seemed like someone who could have been any of our grandmothers, a nice older woman with no reason why she would have been a target", said Mr. Ejnes. The suspect is in a psychiatric hospital.
"She was attacked because she was Jewish".
Ms. Knoll's mother, summoned to the stadium like other Parisian Jews, was able to escape at the last minute with her daughter because she had a Brazilian passport, said Meyer Habib, a member of Parliament who has spoken with one of Ms. Knoll's sons.