Jewish man attacked outside French synagogue

3rd May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Three men attacked an elderly Jewish man outside a synagogue in southern France, spraying tear gas in his face and leaving an anti-Semitic slogan, a Jewish leader said Monday.

The man aged in his 80s has filed a police complaint following the assault on Sunday in Nimes as he was waiting to attend services, said Paul Benguigui, president of the Jewish association in Nimes.

The attackers daubed explicit anti-Jewish graffiti on the synagogue doors.

The incident came less than a week after a man wearing a kippah was wounded in an assault in Strasbourg by a mentally disturbed attacker armed with a knife and metal bar.

The 38-year-old man was charged Sunday with attempted murder after he told police that he was "the target of a Jewish plot", a prosecutor said.

Jewish leader Benguigui said the attack on the synagogue and the elderly man had "triggered certain worries" in the Jewish community.

France is home to Europe's biggest Jewish community, estimated at some 500,000. There are about six million Muslims in the country.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux expressed his solidarity and support to French Jews following the Strasbourg assault, in a letter released by Jewish leaders.

Hortefeux said he had ordered police to "immediately" take action to track down the perpetrators and bring them to justice following the attack in Strasbourg that Jewish leaders had branded anti-Semitic.

© 2010 AFP

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