2002 Lyon car attack

On March 30, 2002, a group of men and women in the courtyard of the synagogue, then rammed one of the cars into a synagogue in the Lyon neighborhood of Duchere, before setting the vehicles afire, causing severe damage to the synagogue .


The attack took place at 1:00 am on Saturday morning; the building was empty at the time. The attackers wore masks or hoods covering their faces, eyewitnesses reported twelve or fifteen attackers. [1] [2] [3] [4]

This was the first of a series of attacks on Jews in France in a single week – which coincided with the holiday of Passover – including “at least” five synagogues. [3] [5] The targeted synagogues include the Golden Aviv synagogue in Marseille , which burned to the ground; a synagogue in Strasbourg , where a fire was set that burned the doors and facade of the building before being doused; [6] and the firebombing of a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Kremlin-Bicêtre . [5]

One of the attackers was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. [7]


The French Jewish community viewed the attacks as acts of “terrorism”. Maurice Obadia, President of the Jewish Community of La Duchere, said, “Nobody should try to make us believe that these are the acts of ill-at-ease delinquents, because these are the acts of terrorists.” Alain Jacubowicz, a leader of the Jewish community in Lyon, describes the ramming and arson attack at the Duchere synagogue as “an act of war.” [3]

Kamel Kabtane, imam of the mosque in Lyon, told a Jewish audience: “The Muslim community and all the people who have come back attack freedom of religion. ” [3]

Prime Minister Lionel Jospin described the attack as “organized and premeditated”; he described himself as “revolted” by it and called for “respect of religions.” [8]

President Jacques Chirac called the attack “unspeakable” and “inadmissible.” [8]

Michel Miraillet, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of France to Israel, said stringent measures were taken by the authorities to ensure the security of French Jews. [7]


Khaled Al-Hashimi and Carolin Goerzig describe this attack together with the 1995 Paris Metro and RER bombings as the “first incidents” in the rise of radical Islamic terrorism among the Muslim youth of Europe. [9]


  1. Jump up^ “Vandals crash cars through French synagogue” . Arizona Daily Sun. AP. March 30, 2002 . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ “Shooting in France in Wave of Anti-Jewish Attacks” . New York Times. April 1, 2002 . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:d Diamond, Andrew (1 April 2002). “Weekend of anti-Semitism in France” . JTA . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  4. Jump up^ Horn, Heather (19 March 2012). “Jewish School Shooting and Patterns of Violence” . The Atlantic . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Tagliabue, John (5 April 2002). “Synagogue In Paris Firebombed; Raids Go On” . New York Times . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  6. Jump up^ McNeil, Donald (2 April 2002). “France Vows Harsh Action After Burn More Synagogues” . New York Times . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  7. ^ Jump up to:b Sheleg Yair (7 May 2002). “Arrested in France” . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:b “Attacks Heighten Security in France” . Midland Daily News. March 30, 2002 . Retrieved 8 August 2016 .
  9. Jump up^ Goerzig, Carolin (2014). Radicalization in Western Europe: Integration, Public Discourse and Loss of Identity Among Muslim Communities . Routledge. p. 67.

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