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07/23/2014 01:35 pm ET | Updated Jul 23, 2014

French Deputy Mayor Allegedly Makes Insensitive Comment About Dead Child In Gaza

A politician in western France has received backlash following an insensitive tweet in reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After a Twitter account that appears to belong to Montreuil-Juigné Deputy Mayor Jacques Renaud compared a dead child to halal meat Wednesday, the social network erupted with sharp criticism of the political figure's callous remark.

The controversy began when the account shared a tweet pledging support for the Jewish people in France who have recently been the target of anti-Semitic attacks. A French Twitter user responded to Renaud's comment with a question about the deputy mayor's thoughts on a photo. The image attached to the tweet appears to show a dead child in Gaza.

Renaud's account responded later, writing: "It's Halal meat I suppose?"

@StonMichel il s'agit de viande Halal je suppose ?

— Jacques Renaud (@JacquesRenaud49) July 22, 2014

French Mayor @JacquesRenaud49 asks if meat of dead Palestinian children is halal. Repugnant racism. pic.twitter.com/fZDzzq0IK2

— Dalia Ezzat (@DaliaEzzat_) July 23, 2014

While Twitter immediately surged with reactions to the comment -- some pointed to the apparent racism, while others criticized Renaud for making such a heartless comment as deputy mayor -- it later came to light that the account may be a fraud.

According to Metronews, Renaud's team said that he has never had a Twitter account and the deputy mayor has reportedly filed a police complaint for identity theft. The office of Montreuil-Juigné Mayor Stéphane Piednoir told Ouest-France that his deputy's account had been hacked.

Fake or hacked, it appears the damage had already been done. A petition calling for Renaud's resignation surfaced on Change.org and has already accrued more than 1,700 signatures.

The account purportedly run by Renaud is still live, and the inflammatory tweet has not been deleted.

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