The French government is creating a national anti-hate crime office following the discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner made the announcement Wednesday in the town of Westhoffen, where vandals scrawled swastikas and other anti-Semitic inscriptions on 107 tombs the day before.
Speaking alongside Jewish leaders, Castaner condemned the graffiti as a sign that "hate is on our national territory."
"We must respect the right to believe," he said.
A special police unit has begun investigating the incident, Castaner said, and the new national office will seek to fight hate crimes.
More than one hundred tombstones were found desecrated in the Jewish cemetery near the French border town of Strasbourg on Tuesday.
"We strongly condemn these heinous anti-Semitic acts that once again strike the Lower Rhine and express the utmost support for the Jewish community," district representative Jean-Luc Marx told local media.
The graffiti marked the latest in a string of anti-Semitic acts in the Bas-Rhin region. Anti-Semitic graffiti was also discovered Tuesday in the eastern French village of Schaffhouse-sur-Zorn, authorities said.
First published: 15:44 , 12.04.19