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Jewish Graves Vandalized in Georgia

December 3, 1998

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) _ Vandals knocked over and shattered 60 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in the Georgian capital Thursday, authorities said.

No group claimed responsibility for the act, and police in the former Soviet republic said they were investigating. It was the second such incident at a Jewish cemetery in Tbilisi in recent years.

Georgia’s chief rabbi, Ariel Levin, denounced the ``barbarous act,″ which he said was carried out by someone ``with provocative goals.″

However, he said, ``Nobody will be able to cast a pall over good and fraternal relations between Georgians and Jews, which have existed for more than 26 centuries now.″

President Eduard Shevardnadze ordered police to tighten security at the cemetery and urged a quick, thorough investigation, according to presidential spokesman Vakhtang Abashidze.