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Jewish Group Claims Credit for Bombing of Palestinian Office

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An Arab library believed to serve as a front for most Palestinian organizations in France was blown up early this morning by an explosive charge. A Jewish organization calling itself “Massada,” claimed responsibility for the explosion at the Palestine Library in northern Paris. The front window was shattered and part of the furniture destroyed. No one was injured in the blast. Books were still scattered this morning all along the sidewalk.

Police investigators believe that the explosion was caused by a small bomb with a delaying mechanism which had been placed in front of the main entrance several hours earlier. No arrests have been reported yet. Several minutes after the explosion, the French news agency, Agence France Presse, received a phone call from a spokesman claiming to represent the Massada group.

The spokesman told AFP “Massada has undertaken its first operation in response to the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish terrorist campaign now in progress. An explosive charge was set off at the Palestine Library. Jewish terror will reply to anti-Semitic terror. This is our first warning.” Massada is listed in the French Jewish Directory as “an ideological group with Jabotinsky tendencies” and is listed under the French Herut-Betar organization.

However, a Herut spokesman, Gerard Lelouche, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that neither Herut nor Betar “had ever met anyone who is a member of the group and had not believed in its actual existence.” He emphatically denied that his organization had anything to do with the explosion. Though the Jewish Defense League has some 50 members in France, none of them were available for comment.

Circles close to the Jewish community in France issued “an energetic condemnation” of the explosion, stressing that “the Jewish community condemns and abhors all forms of violence whoever their authors may be and whatever their objects.” The community stressed that it had never heard about the Massada group and has no connection with it. The French information media devoted considerable space to the incident, seen by many observers here as the first instance of Jewish “anti-terrorism.”

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