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Synagogue Outside Paris Attacked

April 5, 2002

PARIS (AP) _ Police have detained five people for questioning after two Molotov cocktails were hurled at a synagogue outside Paris, officials said Friday.

The 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.

Officials said the detentions proved that heightened security at Jewish institutions is working. The identities of those detained were not released.

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

But there were attacks this week despite the increased security. On Friday, police said three people suspected of trying to throw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in the southern city of Montpellier early Thursday confessed and would appear later in the day before prosecutors.

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.

A wave of anti-Jewish violence broke out after Israeli-Palestinian fighting escalated in the Middle East and has mounted further since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.

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