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Arson at Synagogue in France

October 12, 2000

TOULON, France (AP) _ The door of a synagogue was doused with gasoline and set on fire in southern France, police said Thursday, in the latest in a series of anti-Jewish attacks across the country.

The flames were quickly contained Wednesday evening and damage to the synagogue in La Seyne-sur-Mer in the Var region was minimal, police said.

The incident brings to 22 the number of anti-Semitic incidents since the start of the month. On Tuesday night, a synagogue in Trappes outside Paris was all but destroyed by fire.

The attacks are believed linked to the crisis in the Middle East.

Officials at a Jewish school in Paris said Thursday that they were filing a complaint after students were pelted with objects and showered with insults as they left school Wednesday, French radio reported.

Security was reinforced around the school, which has 800 students of all ages.

Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, meeting Thursday in Marseille, called for calm.

``Confrontation here does nothing to help solve the problem of peace″ in the Middle East, Muslim Imam Bachir Dahmani said.

Jewish officials this week published a list of 19 anti-Semitic acts committed since Oct. 1.

``We do not accept the fact that some people are trying to transfer to France events taking place in the Palestinian territories in Israel,″ said the statement by the ``Consistoire,″ the body that governs Jewish religious affairs in Paris.

French President Jacques Chirac condemned the anti-Semitic attacks, saying ``these manifestations of intolerance ... undermine in an inadmissible way the values and traditions″ of France.

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