February 26, 2009 / 11:17 PM / 9 years ago

Small grenade lobbed at Jewish centre in Venezuela

CARACAS (Reuters) - A small grenade was thrown at a Jewish community centre in Venezuela’s capital on Thursday, stoking fears of anti-Semitism less than a month after a synagogue was ransacked.

The blast at the centre’s front door sparked a small fire and blew out a window of a nearby car but caused little other damage and no injuries, Jewish community leaders told local media.

“The damage, really, is spiritual because it seems there are some people in our country who want to use terrorism,” Abraham Garzon, the director of the centre in Caracas, told a television station.

He said the assailants left no clues as to who they were. The government said it was investigating.

Earlier this month, seven policemen and four civilians were arrested in connection with the attack on a synagogue that prompted international condemnation.

President Hugo Chavez, whom Jewish groups accuse of encouraging anti-Semitism, condemned the synagogue attack in which armed men destroyed religious objects and spray-painted walls.

That assault happened during a diplomatic spat between Venezuela and Israel, which Chavez refers to as a “genocidal” state for its military operations it has conducted in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Reporting by Patricia Rondon; Writing by Saul Hudson; Editing by Fabian Andres Cambero and Xavier Briand

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