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  • French synagogue hit by Molotov cocktail

    Poll shows people in France blame Hamas

    An attack on a French synagogue overnight has fuelled fears of a rise in anti-Jewish incidents linked to Israel's deadly assault on Gaza even as France's interior minister vowed on Monday to punish those behind the bombing.

    The fire bomb attack on the synagogue in Seine-Saint-Denis near Paris damaged a neighboring kosher restaurant but caused no injuries. It followed a petrol bomb attack against a synagogue in Toulouse last week.

    A witness of the attack on the synagogue said three people fled the scene, an anti-Semitism monitoring group said.

    "Everything will be done to find those responsible for this attack and to bring them to justice for this intolerable act," Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in a statement.

    According to the UEJF, a Jewish students' association, Sunday night's attack was the 30th "anti-Semitic action" recorded in France since Dec. 27, when Israel began its bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 900 people, mostly women and children.

    Public opinion poll

    According to a public opinion poll, the French public is divided over whom to blame for the latest crisis in the Middle East.

    A telephone survey carried out by the CSA polling agency for the daily Le Parisien found that 23 percent of respondents blamed Hamas for the escalation, 18 percent Israel and 28 percent both sides equally.

    The largest group, 31 percent, offered no opinion. Le Parisien's pollsters talked to 958 people aged 18 and over, using the quota method to ensure a fair socioeconomic spread.

    Despite the result, more than 100,000 people marched in a dozen towns and cities across France on Saturday to denounce Israel's actions, 30,000 of them in Paris alone.

    This was followed on Sunday by significantly smaller pro-Israeli demonstrations.