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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Russian anti-Jewish sign explodes
synagogue
Campaigners have called for a quick response

Two men who tried to remove an anti-Semitic sign from the roadside in Siberia were injured when it exploded.

Police say it was a hand-grenade, rigged to go off when the placard was removed.

Both men received shrapnel injuries to their arms and legs.

The booby-trapped sign was an almost exact copy of an earlier crime in May outside Moscow, in which a woman suffered severe burns and eye injuries when she tried to remove a sign which read "Death to Jews".

Sense of unease

This is the fifth such incident, though it is only the second time that members of the public have been hurt.

jewish
Unease is growing among the Jewish community
In the other cases, Russian police were able to intervene before anyone was injured.

A bomb-like device found on an anti-Semitic sign in Vladivostock on Thursday proved to be a fake.

It is not yet clear whether these incidents are part of an organised campaign against Jews in Russia.

But they have added to the sense of unease among many here who have been the target of an increasing number of attacks in recent months.

The Anti-Defamation League in Moscow has called for a quick response from the authorities to this latest incident.

It said far more needed to be done to educate Russian law-enforcement officials on how to deal with hate crimes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to fight organisations that target racial and ethnic minorities.

A new law banning extremist political parties was passed recently by the Russian Parliament, but it will not come into effect for some months.

See also:

27 Jun 02 | Europe
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08 Jul 02 | Europe
29 May 02 | Country profiles
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