Israel-Gaza conflict: Synagogues attacked as pro-Palestinian protest in Paris turns violent

Jewish worshippers barricaded themselves inside and two were injured

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The Independent Online

Protesters attacked two synagogues in Paris on Sunday as pro-Palestinian protests turned violent.

Worshippers barricaded themselves inside the Synagogue de la Roquette as demonstrators tried to storm the building with bats and chairs.

Police and security volunteers blocked their way and tear gas was launched to disperse the crowds.

The Synagogue de la rue des Tournelles was also targeted by a small group and several people were arrested.

Six policemen trying to hold the attackers back and two Jews were injured in the confrontation, Le Parisien reported.

The Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, condemned the synagogue attacks “in the strongest possible terms”.

He added: “France will never tolerate using violent words or acts to import the Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto our soil.”

The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, praised the police for their “professionalism” during the disorder and called for calm in the face of tensions in the Middle East.

Israel’s ongoing operation targeting Hamas in Gaza has left more than 170 Palestinians dead as the Islamist group continues to fire rockets.

The conflict has raised tensions in France, which is home to the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, as well as the largest Jewish community.

Sunday’s protest was mostly peaceful, demanding an immediate ceasefire and condemning Israel’s response to rocket fire from Gaza as disproportionate.

Thousands of people marched to the iconic Bastille Square waving Palestinian flags and wearing its red, green, white and black colours.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators holding banners and chanting anti Israeli slogans march through Paris

Many were carrying placards with pictures of the aftermath of Israeli bombardments in Gaza, showing homes reduced to rubble and the bodies of children and other civilian casualties.

A large model rocket was carried above the crowds with “resistance” written in black paint on the side.

The President, Francois Hollande, urged Israel and Hamas to negotiate a ceasefire as quickly as possible in a speech during a Bastille Day ceremony on Sunday.

''We will spare no effort, no trouble to achieve this,“ he said.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Gaza appeared to be escalating after Israeli forces warned residents to evacuate Beit Lahia ahead of a ground assault.

Additional reporting by AP