Fire damages hall at Jewish part of Vienna cemetery
November 1, 2023 07:05 PM
Austrian police on Wednesday were investigating a fire that damaged a hall at the Jewish part of the Vienna cemetery, with politicians condemning anti-Semitic violence.
Cities in Europe have seen a spike in anti-Semitic attacks in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
In the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, a fire broke out at the Jewish part of the Vienna cemetery, damaging a ceremony hall, officers said.
The cemetery walls were sprayed with anti-Semitic symbols, police added.
"We have launched an investigation," a police spokeswoman told AFP, adding they were still probing if arson was the cause of the fire.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said "(I) strongly condemn the attack on the Jewish cemetery in Vienna".
"Anti-Semitism has no place in our society... I hope the perpetrators are identified quickly," he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
President Alexander Van der Bellen said he was "deeply shocked".
"The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Austria has increased significantly in recent weeks. That has to stop!" he wrote on X.
Several Israeli flags have also been torn down recently, with police investigating the incidents.
Israel has bombarded the Palestinian territory of Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Hamas militants, which killed around 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.
Some 8,800 people, two-thirds of them women and children, have been killed in Gaza, the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory said in its latest toll.