14 Paris synagogue goers mildly poisoned by irritant smeared on lock keypad

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Fourteen people, many of them women, were mildly poisoned by a toxic substance that was applied to the keypad of an electronic lock of a synagogue south of Paris.

Members of the Jewish community of the Paris suburb of Bonneuil-sur-Marne on Monday called rescue services to report that they were feeling a sudden and strong burning sensation in their eyes and itching rashes on their skin, the Le Parisien daily reported.

Some 25 firemen rushed to the synagogue, which is under police and military protection whenever it is open. They treated some congregants who were poisoned and traced the source to the pad. Described as a non-lethal irritant, the substance smeared on the pad was sent for analysis at a police forensic lab.

It was applied to the pad when the synagogue was closed and the military personnel guarding it were not present, according to the daily. Two of the victims filed a complaint to police against unidentified individuals who are believed to have applied the irritant on the pad. Police believe it had been deliberately placed there to cause harm.

Separately, on Dec. 7, a passenger on a train traveling from Paris to the southeastern suburb of Melun recorded a video of a passenger who threatened and hurled insults at a group of French Jews.

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The man, who said he was a former soldier, said loudly: “If only I had a grenade here, how do you call it, a fragmentation grenade, I would blow up this wagon with the f***ing Jewish bastards.”

He proceeded for several minutes to harass the group of eight Jews, whom he recognized as such because they were wearing kippahs, according to a report Tuesday by the news website JSSnews. It also said he identified himself to passengers as an Algerian. In the video, the man is seen turning to a female passenger, asking her: “What’s the matter, ma’am, do you find this shocking? I don’t. Not when they’re massacring Palestinian babies.”

Addressing the woman, he said: “Call whoever you want, call your mother, call the army.”

Turning to the Jewish passengers, he yelled: “Bunch of bastards, we’ll get you and we’ll screw you.”

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