Jewish School in Tunisia Attacked: Firebomb Thrown in Djerba, Home to Ancient Jewish Community

Local Jewish community says that locals in Tunisia exploited anti-government protests to attack Jewish school

In this Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 photo, a Jewish man rests in La Ghriba, the oldest synagogue in Africa, on the Island of Djerba, southern Tunisia.
(AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

A Jewish school on a Tunisian island that is home to an ancient Jewish community was attacked late on Tuesday as violent anti-government protests raged elsewhere in the North African country, witnesses said.

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Petrol bombs thrown at the school on the tourist resort island of Djerba caused some damage but no injuries, the head of the local Jewish community, Perez Trabelsi, told Reuters.

There were no protests in Djerba but locals said the assailants had exploited the fact that there was a reduced security presence as police was busy elsewhere combating anti-government protests around the country.

"Unknown people took the opportunity of the protests and threw Molotov cocktails into the lobby of a Jewish religious school in Djerba," Trabelsi said.

In this Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 photo, a boy gestures to the camera in Hara Kbira, the main Jewish neighborhood on the Island of Djerba, southern Tunisia.
Mosa'ab Elshamy / AP

During the time of the attack violent clashes were raging in some 20 Tunisian cities as people protested against rising prices and new taxes imposed by on Jan. 1.

Mainly Muslim Tunisia has a Jewish minority of fewer than 1,800 people. Jews have lived in Tunisia for over 2,000 years and Djerba is home to Africa's oldest synagogue, El Ghriba, which was hit by al Qaeda-linked militants in 2002 in a truck bomb attack that killed 21 people including Western tourists.