1980 Paris synagogue bombing

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On October 3, 1980, the eve of Simchat Torah, a bomb went off outside the Union Libérale Israélite de France synagogue on Rue Copernic, Paris. Four people were killed and more than forty injured. The bomb, consisting of about 10 kilograms (22 lb) of Semtex explosives, had been hidden in the saddlebags of a motorcycle parked outside the synagogue. It went off at 6:38 PM, shortly before the end of services. None of those killed were members of the congregation.[1]

Aftermath and investigation[edit]

After the attack then-Prime Minister Raymond Barre sparked allegations of anti-semitism by describing the bombing as “a heinous act against Jews in a synagogue that struck four innocent Frenchmen crossing the street”—a comment which seemed to imply that the synagogue's members were neither innocent nor truly French.[2][3]

French police initially suspected that the attack had been carried out by neo-Nazis, but later attributed it to the PFLP or one of its offshoots.[4] In 2008 France began seeking the extradition of Hassan Diab, a Lebanese-born Canadian citizen, in connection with the bombing.[5][6]

Subsequent attacks[edit]

The bombing was the first of a string of attacks against Jews in Europe. On August 29, 1981, a synagogue in Vienna, Austria, was attacked by Palestinian gunmen, who killed two people and wounded 30 in the 1981 Vienna synagogue attack. On October 20, 1981, also the eve of Simchat Torah, three people were killed and 94 injured in a truck bomb attack outside a synagogue in the diamond-trading centre of Antwerp, Belgium in the 1981 Antwerp bombing.[7][8]


  1. ^ Cobb, Chris (November 9, 2010). "Paris blast, Part 1: The Explosion". Ottawa Citizen. 
  2. ^ Cobb, Chris (November 9, 2010). "Paris blast, Part 2: The Aftermath". Ottawa Citizen. 
  3. ^ Wistrich, Robert (2010). A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad. Random House. 
  4. ^ Cobb, Chris (November 9, 2010). "Paris blast, Part 3: The Investigation". Ottawa Citizen. 
  5. ^ "Canadian held in Paris synagogue bombing". The Toronto Star. November 14, 2008. 
  6. ^ "File on 1980 Paris bombing revealed". The Globe and Mail. November 20, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Jewish Targets: Recent Attacks". The New York Times. 1986-09-07. 
  8. ^ Lewis, Paul (1981-10-21). "2 Killed By Bomb at Antwerp Synagogue". The New York Times. 

Coordinates: 48°52′09″N 2°17′20″E / 48.8692°N 2.2888°E / 48.8692; 2.2888