Wednesday 21 February 2018

Hundreds of Jewish graves desecrated in France

The Jewish cemetery of Sarre-Union, northeastern France FREDERICK FLORIN/Getty Images
The Jewish cemetery of Sarre-Union, northeastern France FREDERICK FLORIN/Getty Images
Defaced tombstones at Sarre-Union FREDERICK FLORIN/Getty Images
Two hundred tombs had been defaced at the Jewish cemetery FREDERICK FLORIN/Getty Images

Rose Troup Buchanan

Hundreds of Jewish graves have been desecrated in an “odious and barbaric” attack on a cemetery in France.

French media reported that a monument to Holocaust victims had also been ransacked in the attack on the cemetery in Sarre-Union, near the German border, believed to have occurred on Saturday night.

Images circulating on social media appeared to show that some of the graves had been daubed with Swastikas and other highly anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans.

The country’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve strongly condemned the anti-Semitic attack and said that authorities would do “everything” to pursue the vandals.

A criminal investigation is already underway.

Jewish and Muslim graves are sporadically vandalised in France but the latest attack has shocked France in its scale.

Local media claimed that roughly 200 graves had been vandalised in the attack, by an unknown number of assailants, in the town of 3,000.

The attack comes amid rising fears of anti-Semitism in Europe.

On Saturday an armed gunman murdered a Jewish security guard outside a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Read More: 'I was the target of Copenhagen gunman' - Cartoonist Lars Vilks believes he was intended victim of shooter who killed two

The attack was believed to be part of an earlier assault on a freedom of speech talk, featuring controversial Danish cartoonist Lars Vilks, in which one man was killed.

Security forces later killed the gunman, named by local media as 22-year-old Omar el-Hussein.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the “massive immigration” of European Jews to Israel, in remarks that have been condemned by some Jewish leaders in Europe.

France’s president Francois Hollande said he will not allow people to believe that "Jews no longer have a place in Europe".

There are roughly half a million French Jews.

Press Association

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