Historic Tunisian Ghriba Synagogue firebombed amid unrest
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Historic Tunisian Ghriba Synagogue firebombed amid unrest

Shul on the island of Djerba attacked with minor damage being caused and no injuries reported

Ghriba Shul on the island of Djerba
Ghriba Shul on the island of Djerba

Unidentified assailants hurled a firebomb at the Ghriba synagogue in the Tunisian island of Djerba, causing minor damage and no injuries.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night amid protests over economic condition in several Tunisian cities, though not in Djerba itself, Reuters reported.

In 2002, terrorists blew up a vehicle near the synagogue, killing 21.

The area of the synagogue is inhabited by four Jewish families. The bulk of the Jewish community of Djerba, which numbers hundreds of people and is the largest in the Arab world, lives two miles north of there, in a neighbourhood that is under heavy protection and whose entrances are guarded around the clock by the country’s internal security services.

Tunisian police increased its security around the institutions of the Jewish community of Djerba, where hundreds of Jews live and pray in at least five synagogues.

Ghriba Shul on the island of Djerba

In recent years, Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has warned Israelis not to travel to Tunisia for the annual pilgrimage to the al Ghriba synagogue, citing recent information that indicates the intention to carry out terror attacks against visiting Israelis or Tunisian Jewish communities.

The traditional festive procession near the El Ghriba synagogue on Djerba takes place on or around Lag b’Omer, a break during the 49 days of semi-mourning between Passover and Shavuot. It draws hundreds of Tunisian Jews and visitors from Israel.

The synagogue, in the village of Er-Riadh, dates back to 586 B.C., although the current building was reconstructed in the 19th century. El Ghriba is sometimes cited as North Africa’s oldest synagogue.

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