Italy has beefed up security around Jewish and Israeli sites after an unknown attacker stabbed an Orthodox Jew seven times near a kosher pizzeria in Milan on Friday.

Milan Synagogue (Wikimedia commons)

Milan Synagogue (Wikimedia commons)

The victim, an Israeli citizen identified by Milan’s Jewish community as 40-year-old Nathan Graff, was attacked from behind on Thursday evening.

He suffered three wounds to the back, three around the face and one to the arm, a police spokeswoman said.

Officials said the facial cut was the most serious, adding that Mr Graff’s condition was not life-threatening.

Mr Graff, who is bearded and was wearing a kippah at the time of the attack, is recovering at Milan’s Niguarda hospital.

Milan’s Jewish community said in a statement that it hoped the attack was an isolated episode but that security around Jewish sites would be reinforced.

Police said there was no evidence so far to indicate a hate crime and sought to play down the attack.

However, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano met with the head of Italy’s Jewish communities to discuss what the ministry said was “the commitment of law enforcement agencies to guarantee security for Jewish institutions and the potential sites that those who foment hatred might want to target”.

Milan’s provincial security committee decided to intensify security around Jewish and Israeli targets to the highest levels, a statement from Milan’s prefect said.

Jewish groups condemned the attack. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre wrote to Mr Alfano demanding armed protection at Jewish schools and synagogues.

The Nazi-hunting organisation linked the attack to a series of Palestinian stabbings of Israelis in the past two months.