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Vandals crash cars through French synagogue

Vandals crash cars through French synagogue

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LYON, France (AP) — Hooded vandals crashed two cars through the main gate of a synagogue in southeastern France early Saturday, then rammed one of the vehicles into the temple's prayer hall and set it on fire, police said.

There were no injuries in the attack, which occurred at 1 a.m., said police in the city of Lyon. The synagogue was located in the suburb of Duchere.

The synagogue's facade was charred by the blaze and several of its windows were shattered, LCI television reported. It quoted witnesses as saying the attack was carried out by a dozen people wearing masks or hoods over their faces.

Some 200 residents gathered in the center of Duchere on Saturday to protest the attack, which occurred during the weeklong Jewish holiday of Passover and amid a rising number of anti-Semitic attacks in France.

A book published this month by a leading French anti-racism group and Jewish students chronicled about 400 recent attacks against Jews and their religious sites around the country.

The book, by the Union of Jewish Students of France and SOS Racisme, said the attacks represent the greatest surge of anti-Semitism in France since World War II.

Recently, gasoline bombs and stones have been hurled at synagogues, and vandals torched part of a Jewish elementary school in southern France, leaving behind spray-painted messages reading: "Death to the Jews" and "bin Laden will conquer."

The wave of anti-Jewish violence broke out after Israeli-Palestinian fighting escalated in the Middle East and has mounted further since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.

— Arizona Daily Sun


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