May 3, 11:50 AM EDT

Memorial to slain French Jewish man vandalized

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PARIS (AP) -- French authorities say vandals have damaged a memorial plaque honoring a young French Jewish man tortured and killed in 2006.

The incident targeting the monument to Ilan Halimi comes amid heightened religious tensions in France, after radical Islamic gunmen attacked a Paris kosher market and newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement Sunday that prosecutors have opened an investigation into the damage to the monument in the Paris suburb of Bagneux.

Halimi's death stunned many in France, especially in the Jewish community, Europe's largest. Driven in part by anti-Semitism, a gang held him captive for weeks and tortured him, then left him naked and handcuffed near railroad tracks. The 23-year-old Halimi died en route to the hospital.

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