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French Jewish cemetery desecrated with swastikas

Jewish tombstones are seen desecrated with swastikas in the Herrlisheim Jewish cemetery, north of Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Dozens of tombs were defaced were discovered Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

PARIS (AP) — A ceremony has taken place at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France where 37 gravestones and a monument to Holocaust victims were sprayed with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner was among the participants at the Herrlisheim cemetery, near the French city of Strasbourg, for Friday’s event to denounce anti-Semitism and remember Holocaust victims.

The desecration that included Nazi swastikas was discovered on Tuesday, hours before an attacker sprayed gunfire near the Christmas market of Strasbourg, killing three people.

The French government sounded the alarm last month over a sharp rise in anti-Semitic acts this year in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish population.

Police registered a 69 percent rise in the number of anti-Semitic acts in the first nine months of 2018 compared with the same period last year.

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