The attacks on Jews continue across Europe as this time two car bombs were rammed into a synagogue.
Jan 6, 2009
Cars launched at synagogue
TOULOUSE - ATTACKERS launched two cars packed with petrol bombs at a synagogue in France's south-western city of Toulouse on Monday night, causing damage but no casualties, officials said.
One car was set on fire and pushed by the other until it hit the door of the synagogue, at a time when about a dozen people were attending a class with a rabbi. The building caught fire but all those inside escaped unharmed.
Police found unexploded petrol bombs inside the second car, which did not catch fire. They said they were investigating the attack and had not made any arrests.
A Jewish group, the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, condemned the attack.
Earlier, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie met leaders of France's Jewish and Muslim communities and security chiefs to deliver a message that the Gaza Strip conflict should not lead to violent acts in France.
In recent years, flare-ups between Israel and the Palestinians have been followed by acts of violence against Jewish people or buildings in France, which has large Jewish and Muslim communities.
Some analysts have attributed the problem to a build-up of resentment among children or grandchildren of immigrants from Arab countries who feel they are poorly integrated into French society and are victims of discrimination in the job market.
Such frustrations, coupled with feelings of solidarity towards the Palestinians, have resulted in attacks on Jewish targets that have been strongly condemned by almost everyone in the French political establishment.
An Interior Ministry source said Ms Alliot-Marie was keen to avoid a repeat of such events.
'The past has shown that there are sometimes risks and it was better to make an appeal for calm. Events in the Middle East must not lead to community conflicts on French soil,' said the source, declining to be identified.
The head of an umbrella body of Jewish groups, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, said in an interview with Le Figaro that aggressive behaviour by some protesters at pro-Palestinian marches had worried him.
'We must really not import the conflict here. It must not, it cannot happen,' said Richard Prasquier, who was among those who attended the meeting with Ms Alliot-Marie. -- REUTERS
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