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Teenage victim of veil attack attempts suicide

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File photo: A French police officer speaks with Muslim women during an identity check in Lille in 2012. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP
08:43 CEST+02:00
A 16-year-old girl who was attacked for wearing the Muslim veil in a Paris suburb earlier this month is in a "critical" condition after attempting to take her own life by throwing herself from a fourth story window, according to reports on Tuesday.

The teenager, who was attacked on August 12th by two men who threatened her with a box cutter before ripping off her veil, is in a "critical" condition at a hospital in the French capital.

According to Le Parisien newspaper, the teenager threw herself out a window at her family home in the suburb of Trappes, at around 7.30pm on Monday.

It is believed she had already made a previous unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide by taking an overdose of pills last week.

The motive for her actions is not clear. 

With tensions already high in the suburb of Trappes, which was the scene of violent clashes between youths and police last month, authorities feared the suicide attempt may spark further outbreaks of trouble.

Riot police were sent into Trappes on Monday evening and were stationed around the police station, the focal point of last month's violence. No outbreaks of disorder were reported, however.

On the day she was attacked, the teen victim told police she was leaving a friend’s house in Trappes at around 5.45pm  when two “European-looking” men confronted her near Square Berlioz.

The victim reported her assailants shouted racist and anti-Muslim insults at her before brandishing a boxcutter. She said they then tore off her veil, pushed her to the ground, and hit her.

"The first man started to touch my chest and then I managed to slap him, but then he punched me in the chest. He then took out a sharp object and started to cut my face with short, quick movements," the victim told The Huffington Post in the aftermath of the attack.

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The victim was saved when a third man intervened, and the attackers – one of whom was described as having a shaved head – fled the area by car.

She was driven to hospital in Trappes, in the department of Yvelines, where she was found to have “light scratch marks” on her face and throat, a source told French daily Le Parisien.

She reported the incident to local police the following day, who opened up an official investigation and are studying CCTV images and trying to track down any witnesses to the attack.

Investigators in Yvelines confirmed the girl had been attacked but according to Le Parisien newspaper had not been able to find any proof to back up her version of events. The police probe has been made more difficult by the fact that no eyewitness has come forward to help enquiries.

It was not clear whether the victim was wearing a headscarf, known as a hijab, or a full-face veil, known as a niqab, which was banned from being worn in public in France in 2011.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned the attack at the time, expressing his “indignation” to French television BFMTV.

“I severely condemn this newest demonstration of anti-Muslim hatred and intolerance,” Valls said.

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