France Ups Security After Synagogue Attacks

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A pro-Palestinian demonstrator shouts anti-Israel slogans in a street of Paris, Sunday July 13, 2014, to protest against the Israel's Gaza operation.Credit: AP

France took steps to increase security on Monday after people demonstrating against Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza attempted to storm two synagogues in Paris.

Two Jewish men were hurt in the clashes Sunday, which followed a demonstration against the Gaza operation. French President Francois Hollande said he didn’t want to see “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict imported into France,” AFP reported.

Hollande was due to meet with a senior representative of France's Jewish community on Tuesday to discuss the synagogue attacks.

Speaking earlier in a traditional Bastille Day TV interview he said: "We cannot have intrusion or efforts at intrusions into places of worship, whether they are synagogues, as happened yesterday, but I would say the same thing for mosques, for churches, or for temples. Religions should be respected, all religions. These places of worship should be protected."

“The conflict between Israel and Palestine cannot be used as an excuse for anti-Semitism,” the president added.

Sunday's protest in Paris saw several thousand people on the streets of the French capital. Violent clashes occurred at the end of the march, which ended in Bastille Square. Demonstrators hurled projectiles at police, who fired tear gas at the crowd, AFP said.

According to a police source, one small group of protesters tried to storm two synagogues in the center of the city. The two Jewish men were not seriously injured. Six police officers were also hurt.

According to Joel Mergei – head of France's top religious Jewish authority, the Central Israeli Consistory – this was a "new low," after a synagogue in the St Denis suburb was attacked with a petrol bomb on Friday.

Europe's largest Jewish and Muslims communities are in France, AFP said. In recent years, anti-Semitic attacks in the country have increased.

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