Wednesday, April 17, 2002


Mon Dieu:
PARIS (AP)- Nearly 360 crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions in France have occurred this month, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry said 70 people have been questioned and 16 jailed in connection with incidents that have taken place in the first two weeks of April. The wave of anti-Semitic attacks in France has coincided with intensified Israeli-Palestinian violence.

More than 60 percent of the acts involved anti-Jewish graffiti, while the number of people victimized by anti-Semitic slurs had also risen, the ministry said.

Law enforcement agencies also reported a dozen attempts to set synagogues and graves on fire.

Suspects in the attacks generally are young, with an average age of 20, and of "Maghreb origin," chiefly Arab youths from North African countries, the ministry said.

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

A book published last month by a leading French anti-racism group and Jewish students chronicled about 400 recent attacks against Jews and their religious sites around the country. That number apparently does not include the latest Interior Ministry figures.

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