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France probes damaged Jewish headstones in WWI cemetery

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
France probes damaged Jewish headstones in WWI cemetery
Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

French authorities said on Wednesday they were investigating damage done to Jewish graves in a German World War I military cemetery, as anti-Semitic acts multiply across the country.

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In the cemetery, situated in the Oise département north of Paris, 10 Jewish gravestones were discovered damaged, the local préfecture said.

Prosecutors said they immediately launched an investigation into the incident, with a racist or religious motive a possibility, they said.

More than 1,500 anti-Semitic acts and comments have been recorded in France since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday.

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There have been growing tensions in France, home to large Jewish and Muslim communities, as war rages in the Gaza Strip.

The German cemetery in memory of World War I (1914-18) contains 1,903 graves of German soldiers, both Christian and Jewish.

Speaking on a visit to the Swiss capital Bern, President Emmanuel Macron said he condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the damage done to the graves.

The president affirmed his "personal commitment" to "fight implacably and tirelessly against all forms of anti-Semitism."

The Oise préfet, Catherine Seguin, called the defacing of the headstones "despicable".

On Sunday, more than 182,000 people marched against anti-Semitism across France, including 105,000 in Paris alone.

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