Hundreds of Jewish graves desecrated in France

French leaders have condemned the attack in the small town of Saare-Union near the German border

Rose Troup Buchanan
Monday 16 February 2015 11:33
One of the desecrated graves in Saare-Union
One of the desecrated graves in Saare-Union

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

Local 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.

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

Specialists examine the scene

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.

The site is currently under guard

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. Two further individuals have been arrested yesterday, police confirmed today.

Yesterday, 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.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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