Synagogues Attacked Across France

January 12, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Middle East Online

Vandals hurled petrol bombs at Jewish places of worship in Paris and eastern France on Sunday night, the latest of a string of anti-Semitic attacks since the start of Israel's Gaza offensive.

In the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, the local synagogue was attacked with two petrol bombs as the rabbi was inside, sparking a fire in the next-door cafeteria, the local prefecture said.

The mayor of Saint-Denis condemned the "intolerable" attack, while the prefecture was due to announce stepped-up security measures for the area's synagogues during a meeting with Jewish community leaders later on Monday.

Police also found the shattered remains of three petrol-filled bottles outside a Jewish prayer room in Schiltigheim, a suburb of the eastern city of Strasbourg, alerted by a resident who spotted black smoke marks on the wall.

The local head of the CRIF French Jewish Council, Pierre Levy, condemned what he called a "hateful and cowardly act."

In central France, meanwhile, police found anti-Semitic graffiti -- "Kill the Jews", as well as "Free Gaza" and "Long Live Palestine" -- daubed on a wall near the local mosque, in a suburb of Le Puy en Velay.

France's interior ministry and Jewish groups have warned of a rising mood of anti-Semitism, as protests heat up against Israel's three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip.