Coming up

Don't miss




Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more


Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more


Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more


Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more


Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more


French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more


Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more


Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Air Algérie crash site located, France sending military unit

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more


Sarkozy condemns attack on French synagogue

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Latest update : 2009-01-14

President Nicolas Sarkozy and religious leaders on Monday condemned a petrol bomb attack on a French synagogue, the latest in a spate of anti-Semitic violence since the start of Israel's Gaza offensive.

REUTERS - President Nicolas Sarkozy and religious leaders on Monday condemned a petrol bomb attack on a French synagogue, the latest in a spate of anti-Semitic violence since the start of Israel's Gaza offensive.

Vandals hurled nine firebombs at the Ohr Menahem synagogue in the ethnically mixed Paris suburb of Saint-Denis late Sunday, sparking a fire in the next-door kosher restaurant, local police said.

The rabbi and other people were inside the synagogue when the fire broke out, but no-one was injured. Initial police reports had said two petrol bombs were thrown.

The attack came less than a week after a synagogue in the southern city of Toulouse was targeted, while a Jewish prayer room in eastern France also suffered minor damage after vandals threw fire-bombs late Sunday.

During a meeting with religious leaders, Sarkozy "condemned in the strongest terms this inadmissible violence, using the conflict as a pretext, against people, private property and religious buildings," the presidency said.

Sarkozy said the attacks would "not go unpunished," and vowed to oppose attempts "to transpose on French territory an international conflict that France is working to resolve, with all of its strength."

France has been on edge since Israel stepped up its offensive against the Islamist Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip as the death toll has climbed to more than 900 in the third week of fighting.

Home to Europe's biggest Jewish and Muslim communities, France has been rocked by major pro-Palestinian protests and pro-Israeli rallies in recent weeks while surveys show public opinion is divided on the conflict.

On Monday, police found anti-Semitic graffiti -- "Kill the Jews", "Free Gaza" and "Long Live Palestine" -- daubed on a wall near the local mosque in Le Puy en Velay, an important site for Catholic pilgrims in southern-central France.

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

Four teenagers from the rough Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel were charged last week with beating a Jewish schoolgirl and taunting her over the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

One of her attackers allegedly told her: "We don't like what your brothers are doing in Gaza," according to lawyers.

After meeting with local Jewish leaders, the mayor of Saint-Denis condemned the "intolerable" attack on the synagogue and called a demonstration for Monday evening to show public outrage over the violence.

French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie vowed no effort would be spared "to find the perpetrators of the attack and have them answer before justice for this intolerable act."

She later said security would be beefed up around places of worship.

The president of the central consistory of French Jews, Joel Mergui, expressed "anger" over the attack and denounced "a succession of threats and dangerous acts against the Jewish community across France."

A spokesman for the governing UMP party called for "severe punishment" to be handed down to those found guilty of hate violence while several anti-racism groups appealed for calm.

"Let's not let the Middle East conflict spill over to France," said the Jewish students union in their appeal.

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

Date created : 2009-01-13