Photo: AP
Photo: AP
53 Jewish tombstones damaged in France
Mayor's office in northern city of Lille says it is 'shocked' and 'disgusted' by weekend attack, which it describes as a 'hateful anti-Semitic act'
More than 50 tombstones were damaged in an attack at the weekend on a Jewish cemetery in the northern French city of Lille that the mayor's office described as a "hateful anti-Semitic act".


The Lille mayor's office said it was "shocked" and "disgusted" by the desecration of 53 tombstones overnight Saturday to Sunday in the Lille-Sud cemetery.


New Interior Minister Francois Baroin issued a statement condemning the attack and pledging to mobilise "all means necessary to quickly find the perpetrators of these intolerable acts".


No inscriptions were found on the tombstones, which were tilted and bent as a result of the vandalism.

The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) in February reported a 45 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks in France between 2005 and 2006.


The overall number of anti-Semitic acts - both physical violence and vandalism - rose 40 percent from 134 to 213, while anti-Semitic insults rose 71 percent, from 48 to 82.


According to the CRIF, anti-Semitic acts have been on the rise in France since 2000, year of the second Palestinian uprising which is supported by many in France's Muslim community, and have since tended to rise and fall in line with developments in the Middle East.


France has one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world, estimated at up to 600,000 people.


First published: 04.01.07, 17:06
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