* Hmm, “Assailants & Vandals”- what will they call them next? AnotherÂ desperateÂ attempt by the Â Associated (with terrorists) Press to avoid the “M”-word:
Vandals in France hurled Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in a suburb north of Paris amid tensions in France over Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip, French Police said Monday.
*Â Israel arrests 700 people, mostly Arabs, in protests against IDF Gaza op
The police headquarters of the Seine-Saint-Denis region said the gasolineÂ
bombs damaged a restaurant next door but caused no injuries. A window wasÂ
shattered in the restaurant and the wall blackened.
Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in a statement that Sunday’sÂ
nighttime attack in Saint-Denis was “cowardly and inadmissible.”
“Everything will be done to find those responsible for thisÂ
attack and to bring them to justice for this intolerable act,” she said.
It was the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents in France since Israel began its offensive in Gaza against Hamas militants December 27.Â
Assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations have been reported in France, Sweden and Britain.Â
Assailants last week rammed a burning car into the gates of a synagogue in Toulouse, in southwest France.
France has Western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities and a history of anti-Semitic violence flaring when tensions in the Middle East are high. In 2002, some 2,300 Jews left France for Israel because they felt unsafe.Â
President Nicolas Sarkozy warned in a statement last week that France would not tolerate violence linked to the Gaza crisis. A day earlier, his interior minister said she was concerned about the prospect of contagion and met with the heads of the two main Muslim and Jewish groups and police officials to stress the need to “preserve national unity.”Â
Damage to the synagogue in Toulouse was limited to a blackened gate, and there were no injuries even though a rabbi was giving a course to adults inside, authorities said. They said unlighted gasoline bombs were also found in a car nearby and in the synagogue’s yard. A local Jewish leader, Armand Partouche, said he believed the assailants had planned to torch the synagogue, but fled when the building’s alarm went off.Â
“It could have been very, very serious,” Partouche said in a telephone interview. “There were people inside; there could have been deaths.”Â
He said Jewish leaders are asking Toulouse authorities for reinforced security for the city’s synagogues.Â
“We really fear that anti-Semitism will spring up again and that the current conflict will be transposed to our beautiful French republic,” he said.Â
Separately, the French government has been one of the more active international bodies pushing for a cease-fire deal between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Faza Strip.
* White flag anybody?