France: Dozens of Jewish graves desecrated
Over 30 Jewish graves vandalized in southern city of Nice. City's chief rabbi: Incident may be connected to Toulouse shooting
Over 30 Jewish graves were vandalized in a cemetery in the city of Nice in southern France, media outlets reported Saturday, five days after three schoolchildren and a rabbi were murdered in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse.
According to reports, the vandals tore off 22 Stars of David that were affixed on candle lamps built into the tombstones. They also tried to tear out nine other Stars of David, but only managed to twist them. In addition, four candle lamps were missing.
The act of vandalism occurred overnight Friday, but guards stationed at the cemetery said they noticed that some 22 candle lamps were missing from graves at the Jewish section as early as Wednesday.
The large cemetery in the eastern part of the city has some 600 graves, but the damages were only inflicted on graves in the Jewish section, the district's head of investigations told reporters.
Desecrated graves in Nice cemetery (Photo: AFP)
Nice's chief Rabbi estimated that the vandalism may be connected to Monday's deadly shooting spree in Toulouse.
France's Interior Ministry issued a statement following the incident, saying: "The Interior Ministry denounces desecration of graces and stresses the government's commitment to battle against all forms of anti-Semitism."
Nice's Mayor Christian Estrosi noted that police patrols around the cemetery were reinforced following the desecration. "We are at a time when we cannot be off guard," he said, adding that he has filed a complaint with the hopes that the vandals will be arrested.