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Five Detained in French Synagogue Attack

Five Detained in French Synagogue Attack
Filed at 7:32 a.m. ET


PARIS (AP) -- Police detained five people for questioning after Molotov cocktails were hurled at a synagogue outside Paris, and three suspects in a similar attack in southern France confessed to the crime, officials said Friday.

Two fire bombs were thrown at a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Kremlin-Bicetre overnight Wednesday but failed to hit their apparent target and crashed onto a nearby sidewalk without causing damage, officials from the Val de Marne region said.

The identities of the five detainees were not released, but officials said the detentions proved that heightened security put in place at Jewish institutions after a wave of anti-Semitic attacks last weekend is working. However, violence has continued despite the security measures.

Police said three people suspected of trying to throw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in the southern city of Montpellier early Thursday confessed. They were to appear before prosecutors later in the day.

The gasoline bombs caused serious damage to the building that adjoins the synagogue, which authorities believe was the intended target. The damaged building houses the Herault region's environmental offices.

France deployed riot police at Jewish religious sites and schools nationwide after an arson attack Sunday destroyed a synagogue in the southern city of Marseille.

That attack was the third on a synagogue in France over the Passover-Easter weekend, and it embarrassed the government, which has tried to play down accusations that anti-Semitism is a growing problem in the country.

Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said Monday that more than 1,000 police, including riot police, had been sent to reinforce officers patrolling Jewish religious sites in a dozen cities.

Anti-Jewish violence broke out in France after Israeli-Palestinian fighting escalated in the Middle East in 2000 and has mounted further since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.
 
 

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