Inside the Great Synagogue of Lyon.
Two teenage girls have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to blow up a synagogue in Lyon, French news websites have reported.
According to JSS News and Europe 1, a source from the French security agency the Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence revealed that two Muslim girls, aged 15 and 17, were arrested in the Tarbes and Venissieux neighbourhoods a week ago, after authorities uncovered a plan to carry out a suicide bombing inside the Great Synagogue of Lyon. They were indicted on August 22nd for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
An unnamed security source also revealed that the two teenagers had never met, but communicated only via social media. “These girls were part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services,” said the unnamed security source. Security services are becoming increasingly concerned with online radicalisation, particularly following the proliferation of videos created by jihadist groups such as Islamic State.
A recent Newsweek cover story detailed the rising tide of anti-Semitic violence across Europe, including an attack on a Paris synagogue in July and an incident in May 2012 in Toulouse in which a gunman killed seven people, including a teacher and three children, at a Jewish school.
“Jews in France or Belgium are being killed because they are Jews,” Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), told Newsweek. “Jihadism has become the new Nazism. This makes people consider leaving France.”
In a statement released on an online forum, the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA), one of France’s leading anti-semitism watchdogs, remarked that synagogues have become increasingly popular targets for Islamists and terrorists. The excessive measures taken to secure Jewish places of worship have turned them into “semi-fortresses”, they said.
BNVCA attribute the recent spike in anti-Semitic crimes in France to the influence of unnamed political parties and sections of the media, which “pillory the Jewish state fighting against the Islamic state in Gaza”. They also called upon the French Interior Minister to take all possible security measures to foil further attacks, particularly during important Jewish festivals like Yom Kippur, which begins in early October. “Jewish citizens are increasingly pessimistic about their future in France,” the statement added.