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Jewish Cemetery Defaced in France

April 14, 2002|From Reuters

STRASBOURG, France — Vandals have desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans in an attack that President Jacques Chirac denounced Saturday as scandalous.

The symbols and slogans, painted on about 20 tombstones and a wall, were discovered Friday. Chirac, in the newspaper Le Progres, said: "These were scandalous acts that go against the foundations of French identity. . . . They should be opposed with utmost vigor."

Police have opened an inquiry into the incident, the fourth at a Jewish site in the Cronenbourg section of Strasbourg during Israel's West Bank offensive.

In Paris, police sources said 10 to 12 anti-Semitic attacks were reported in France daily, ranging from anti-Jewish graffiti to physical attacks on Jews and their schools, synagogues and shops.

Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine denounced the vandalism, saying on French radio: "Nothing that happens in the Middle East can justify racist and anti-Semitic acts or attacks on Jewish school buses or schools or burning synagogues."

An unexploded bomb was found at another Cronenbourg cemetery early this month after an arson attack there and a fire at a nearby synagogue.

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