Pro-Palestinian protesters hurled a Molotov cocktail at a Paris synagogue on Sunday afternoon after a demonstration against Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip descended into violence.
The synagogue, located on the Val d’Oise in the Sarcelles district of the French capital, suffered no damage in the attack, French newspaper Le Figaro reported. Sarcelles, in the north of the city, is home to a large Sephardic Jewish community.
The riot broke out after a few hundred people assembled at a local metro station to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza, as well as the decision by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazaneuve to ban rallies against Israel following the staging of riots last week outside several synagogues in the Paris region.
According to AFP, violence began when a large police force moved in to break up the protest. Two cars were torched and several others were damaged, their windows broken.
A large police contingent positioned itself to try to block access to the synagogue where around 30y Jewish people, armed with metal bars and clubs, had arrived to protect the building. The French Jewish Defense League, or LDJ, said on Twitter that it was guarding the synagogue along with police.
As the two sides faced off and traded taunts, the pro-Palestinian protesters began to attack the media covering the incident. Several journalists were assaulted, a cameraman was robbed of his equipment, and an AFP photographer was injured.
A short video clip posted on the Internet claimed to show the riotous action.
The AFP report said that, initially, a pro-Palestinian and a pro-Israel march had both been scheduled for the same time and place, but when authorities realized the situation they banned both events.
Over the weekend, 14 French police officers were wounded and 38 people were arrested at another unauthorized rally in Paris against Israeli action in Gaza.
The clashes occurred as approximately 3,000 protesters, who defied a city-issued ban on their planned demonstration near the Gare Du Nord train station, began marching up Barbes Boulevard, a police source said. When riot police stopped them, they hurled bottles and other objects at the officers, resulting in minor injuries.
Last week, clashes erupted at the end of another the march in Bastille Square, with people throwing projectiles onto a cordon of police who responded with tear gas.
Media reports said that hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area and police units were sent to rescue them.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 to try to stem rocket fire by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip at Israeli towns and cities. Last Thursday night, Israel added a ground invasion to ongoing intensive airstrikes. By Sunday evening, Palestinian sources reported over 400 deaths and 3,000 injuries in the fighting. Israel had suffered 18 soldiers and two civilians killed. Dozens of soldiers and several civilians have also been injured.