From Djerba to San Diego, previous attacks on synagogues around the world

Recent years have seen a spate of deadly attacks on Jewish places of worship… and schools, community centers, museums, kosher supermarkets

A makeshift memorial stands outside the Tree of Life synagogue in the aftermath of a deadly shooting in Pittsburgh, on October 29, 2018 in which eleven Jews were killed while at Shabbat services. (AP/Matt Rourke)
A makeshift memorial stands outside the Tree of Life synagogue in the aftermath of a deadly shooting in Pittsburgh, on October 29, 2018 in which eleven Jews were killed while at Shabbat services. (AP/Matt Rourke)

Some of the major attacks on synagogues and other places of Jewish community life across the world over recent years.


On April 11, 2002, 21 people died in a suicide attack on the Ghriba synagogue, on the island of Djerba, in the south of the country. Among the dead were 14 Germans, five Tunisians and two French citizens.

A tanker truck driven by a Tunisian and filled with flammable gas blew up outside the synagogue, which is the oldest place of Jewish worship in Africa.

The attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda.

A German victim, 8, of the Ghriba synagogue explosion is seen during her transfer from Djerba to Tunis, in Djerba , Tunisia, Friday April 12, 2002. (AP PHOTO/Hassene Dridi)


On November 15, 2003, vehicles filled with explosives were used against two synagogues in Istanbul, Neve Shalom and Beth Israel, killing 30 and injuring 300. Five days later, the British consulate and an HSBC building came under attack.

A Turkish cell of Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks.


On November 18, 2014, an attack by two Palestinians against a synagogue in Jerusalem killed five people: three Israeli-Americans, one Israeli-Briton and a Druze Israeli policeman.

Both attackers were shot dead by police.

Israeli emergency services personnel gathers blood and other human remains from the sidewalk for proper burial at the scene of an attack, by two Palestinians, on Israeli worshippers at a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem on November 18, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)


On February 14, 2015, a Danish citizen of Palestinian origin, having pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, opened fire on a cultural center in Copenhagen which was hosting a freedom of speech conference, and killed a film-maker.

Later that night, he also killed a 37-year old Jewish man who was standing guard outside a synagogue where a bar mitzvah was being held.

The attacker was then killed in a shootout with police.

United States

On October 27, 2018, a 46-year-old gunman burst into a synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat services, killing eleven people. He reportedly yelled “All Jews must die!” during the attack. He was indicted on 29 counts, some of which carry the death penalty.

On April 27, 2019, a 19-year-old man claiming to be anti-Semitic and Islamophobic killed one woman and injured three others, including a rabbi, when he attacked a synagogue near San Diego, California, on the last day of Passover.

Flowers and mementos are left outside the funeral for Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue by a gunman who opened fire during services, on April 29, 2019 in Poway, California. The suspect will be arraigned tomorrow. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

 Not just synagogues

Many other places of Jewish community life have been attacked over the years.

In France on March 19, 2012, a 23-year old French-Algerian Islamist killed three children and a teacher in a Jewish school in the southwest of the country.

In the US, on April 13, 2014, a white supremacist known for his anti-Semitic views attacked a Jewish community center and retirement home in Kansas, killing three people, none of whom were actually Jewish.

In Belgium on May 24, 2014, a man opened fire in the lobby of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, killing four. The killer was arrested in France and extradited to Belgium for trial. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In France, on January 9, 2015, four Jews were killed during a hostage-taking in a Jewish supermarket in Paris by a jihadist.

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