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Synagogue attacked near Paris

Article published on the 2009-01-12 Latest update 2009-01-12 11:59 TU

Demonstrators burn an Israeli flag in paris, 10 January 2009(Photo: Reuters)

Demonstrators burn an Israeli flag in paris, 10 January 2009
(Photo: Reuters)

A Molotov cocktail type firebomb was thrown at the Ohr Menahem synagogue in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis late Sunday, starting a small fire on the facade of the a restaurant next door. The rabbi was inside with some others when the fire started, but no one was injured.

The mayor of Saint-Denis called the synagogue attack "intolerable", and called for a demonstration Monday evening to show public outrage.

“All resources will be deployed to find the perpetrators of this aggression, to make them appear before the justice system for this intolerable act,” said French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.

The attack is the latest incident of anti-Semitic violence in France since the start of Israel’s offensive operation into the Gaza Strip 17 days ago.

Police in Strasbourg on Sunday found three petrol-filled bottles smashed outside a Jewish prayer room, which suffered smoke damage. A synagogue in Toulouse was targeted last week.

Four teenagers from the Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel were charged last week with beating a Jewish schoolgirl and taunting her over the Israeli offensive. According to her layers, one of her attackers allegedly said: "We don't like what your brothers are doing in Gaza.”

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across France this weekend to protest Israel’s operation. In Paris and in Nice some vehicles were damaged and windows smashed at the end of the protests.

A telephone survey conducted by the CSA polling agency for the daily newspaper Le Parisien, found that public opinion is divided, with 23 per cent of respondents blaming Hamas for the escalation, 18 per cent blaming Israel, and 28 per cent blaming both sides equally.

Dalil Boubakeur, head of the Paris Grand Mosque, asked French Muslims to "keep calm in the face of strong emotions" unleashed by the war in Gaza.