PARIS (AP) — A small package bomb exploded inside a kosher grocery store in a Paris suburb Wednesday, wounding at least one person, according to an agency that tracks anti-Semitic attacks in France.
The reason for the attack was unclear, but it rattled nerves amid global tensions surrounding a U.S.-produced film insulting to Islam. The French grocery store attack came a few hours after a satirical French weekly published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, prompting anger from French Muslim groups.
The Jewish Community Protection Service, set up to register anti-Semitic attacks in France, says on its website that two individuals dressed in black threw an explosive device inside a kosher supermarket in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles at lunchtime Wednesday. It says one person suffered small injuries, without elaborating.
Yves Jannier, the state prosecutor in the Val d’Oise region where Sarcelles is located, cautioned that evidence was still being compiled and it was too early to draw any conclusions about motives behind the attack.
“We’ll need to analyze, quantify and measure all these elements, such as to know perhaps the type of explosives used,” he said at a news conference. “But for now, we should avoid any extrapolation or hasty conclusions.”
The Sipa news agency reported four injuries. It said the two assailants fled after throwing a rock through the shop’s window shortly before the explosion, and that the victims are being treated for wounds to their arms and legs from the explosion and broken glass.
A French Jewish umbrella organization, CRIF, said in a statement that “it fears this attack” is connected to violent protests in recent days from Asia to Africa against the U.S.-produced film “Innocence of Muslims,” which ridicules Prophet Muhammad. CRIF criticized those who are linking Jews to the making of the film and said “nothing can justify the wave of violence that has hit the world since its release.”
France, which has western Europe’s largest Jewish population, sees sporadic but persistent anti-Semitic acts, often vandalism of gravesites and synagogues. The nation also has the region’s largest Muslim population, and mosques and Muslim gravesites are periodically desecrated.
Fears of a new wave of anti-Semitism in France resurfaced after a gunman claiming ties to radical Islam killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March, the worst such attacks in France since the 1990s.