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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Ukraine holds eight over synagogue raid
Boy peers through broken synagogue window
Some 20 windows were broken in the attack
Ukrainian police say eight people are being questioned in connection with an attack on the city's main synagogue on Saturday.

The attack by some 50 stone-throwing football fans occurred as members of the congregation were leaving after evening prayers.

Kiev's kain synagogue
The synagogue is situated near the central stadium
One rabbi was hospitalised for the night, and 20 windows were broken.

Ukraine's Chief Rabbi, Moshe Azman, said the attackers were chanting anti-Semitic slogans, and described the incident as a pogrom, but police said it was simply an act of hooliganism.

"We have detained eight people in connection with this hooliganism and we are taking all the necessary measures to identify and detain all the other hooligans," a police spokesman said.

Police slow

The synagogue is situated close to the main Kiev football stadium.

The rector of Kiev's Jewish school, Tsvi Kaplan, was knocked to the ground, and several other worshippers were hurt.

Police took 20 minutes to arrive at the synagogue, by which time most of the attackers had left.

In Ukraine and other former Soviet republics rowdy soccer fans often shave their heads and attack ethnic minorities.

Attacks on Jews, synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and other Jewish sites have increased across Europe since Israel launched a military offensive in the West Bank two weeks ago aimed at rooting out Palestinian militants.

Ukraine once had the world's fifth largest Jewish community, but numbers have been severely depleted by emigration.

There are estimated to be 100,000 Jews in Kiev.

See also:

25 Jun 01 | Europe
Pope honours Ukrainian Jews
12 Apr 02 | Middle East
Mystery surrounds synagogue blast
10 Apr 02 | Europe
New attack on Paris synagogue
01 Apr 02 | Europe
French Jews demand protection
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