1980 Paris synagogue bombing

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1980 Paris synagogue bombing
Locationrue Copernic synagogue, Paris, France
Date3 October 1980
Attack type
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrators
Palestinian nationalists
The synagogue, 24 Copernic Street, Paris

On 3 October 1980, the rue Copernic synagogue in Paris, France was bombed in a terrorist attack. The attack killed four and wounded 46 people. The bombing took place in the evening near the beginning of Shabbat, during the Jewish holiday of Sim'hat Torah. It was the first deadly attack against Jewish people in France since the end of the Second World War.[1] The Federation of National and European Action (FANE) claimed responsibility,[2] but the police investigation late concluded that Palestinian nationalists were likely responsible.[3][4]


The bombing, on 3 October 1980 at 18:38, directed against a synagogue of the Union Libérale Israélite de France, Copernic street in Paris, that was filled for Sabbath services.[5] Saddlebags packed with 10 kilograms of explosives were left on a motorcycle parked in front of the synagogue.[5] The glass roof of the synagogue fell down on the worshipers, and one of the doors was blown through. Some cars on the street were projected into the road, the fronts windows of shops were blown through up to 150 metres.

Philippe Bouissou (22 years old) who passed by on his motorbike was killed immediately. Aliza Shagrir (42 years old), an Israeli TV presentator on holiday, was also killed while she was walking on the pavement, as was Jean Michel Barbé who used to frequently visit the synagogue. Hilario Lopes-Fernandez, the Portuguese housekeeper of the Victor Hugo hotel, located almost in front of the temple, was seriously wounded and died two days later.

The commemorative plaque fixed onto the synagogue notes: "In memory of Jean Michel Barbé, Philippe Bouissou, Hilario Lopez Fernandez, Aliza Shagrir killed during the odious attack committed against this synagogue on 3 October 1980."

The explosive, consisting of about 10 kg of pentrite, in the bags of a blue Suzuki TS 125 motorbike parked about 10 metres from the synagogue, could have caused more victims if it had happened a few minutes later, when the worshippers had left : as it was the day before shabbat, the synagogue was full with 300 people coming to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of three boys and Bat Mitzvah of two girls.


Commemorative plaque onto the synagogue

The day after, march of several thousands of people started in front of the synagogue, and went to the Champs Elysées. While other protests took place in other cities in provinces On 7 October 1980 a demonstration of 200,000 people marched from Nation to République. Several Members of Parliament joined the movement.

Statement by Raymond Barre[edit]

The Prime Minister, Raymond Barre, on 3 October said on TF1: "This odious bombing wanted to strike Jews who were going to the synagogue and it hit innocent French people who crossed the Copernic street", a Freudian slip that his words of the 8 October in the National Assembly, assuring his "Jewish compatriots" of the "sympathy of the all nation", will not be erased of memories. Just before his death in August 2007, Raymond Barre attributed this campaign of protestations to "Jewish lobby".


Police were originally looking for two Cypriot suspects, Alexander Panadryu and Joseph Mathias, but the investigation did not progress at the time.[6] Thirty-four years later, Hassan Diab, a Canadian of Lebanese origin, was extradited to France in November 2014.[5] Since then three French anti-terrorism judges have uncovered testimony from several individuals stating that Diab was in Lebanon at the time of the bombing as well as University records which show he wrote and passed exams in Beirut then and couldn't have been in Paris. They ordered his conditional release under electronic surveillance eight times, only to have their orders challenged by the prosecutor and overturned by an appeal court.[7] He was released without charge on January 12, 2018 and returned to Canada on January 15, 2018.


  1. ^ "Jewish Targets: Recent Attacks: Chronology". New York Times. AP. 7 September 1986. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. ^ https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1981/10/22/des-precedents-nombreux_2709388_1819218.html
  3. ^ Rubin, Barry; Rubin, Judith Colp (2015). Chronologies of Modern Terrorism. Routledge. p. 195. ISBN 9781317474654.
  4. ^ "Terrorist Incidents against Jewish Communities and Israeli Citizens Abroad, 1968-2003". International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. 20 December 2003.
  5. ^ a b c "Lebanese-Canadian charged over 1980 Paris synagogue bombing". Times of Israel. AFP. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  6. ^ https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1981/10/22/des-precedents-nombreux_2709388_1819218.html
  7. ^ "Hassan Diab Case: New exculpatory evidence and Amnesty International Intervention". Amnesty International. Retrieved 26 June 2017.

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