PARIS (Jan. 9)
The Jewish Agency building was seriously damaged in a pre-dawn bomb explosion today. The blast shattered windows in a 60-yard radius, wrecked parked cars, twisted iron window bars and blew out garage doors all along the block. No injuries were reported. The building was empty at the time except for the night watchman who slept in the rear and was not hurt.
This correspondent visited the scene shortly after the explosion occurred at 5 a.m. local time. The street resembled an area hit by an air raid. People from neighboring buildings stood in their pajamas along the street amid debris and splintered glass.
Police investigating the blast reported they had no clues regarding the perpetrators. Several local newspapers said they received letters today purporting to come from the Black September, an Arab terrorist organization, claiming responsibility, for the bombing. Neither the police nor Jewish Agency circles believe there is any connection between the blast and the forthcoming visit of Premier Golda Meir of Israel, due here Friday to attend a meeting of the Socialist International.
The blast occurred one month after a bomb seriously wounded Mahmoud el-Hamshari, the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Paris. Hamshari is still hospitalized. His left leg was amputated last Saturday and he reportedly has blood poisoning.
POLICE IGNORED REQUESTS FOR EXTRA SECURITY
This morning’s bombing was the first attack on any Jewish Institution in France. Michel Topiol, Jewish Agency chairman in this country, charged today that the local police had ignored requests by the Agency for extra security measures. Topiol said suspicious persons had been seen in the neighborhood during the last few days, but that when the police were informed they said there was no sign of danger and pleaded lack of manpower.
A Jewish Agency spokesman recalled that Premier Pierre Messmer had assured Prof. Ady Steg, president of the Representative Council of the French Jews (CRIF) last March that “Jewish organizations have nothing to fear on French territory and that their protection will be ensured by French authorities.” Chief Rabbi Jacob Kaplan of French told the JTA today, “It is scandalous that the Jewish Agency in Paris was not better protected.” The CRIF released a statement calling on the government “to take efficient measures to ensure the adequate protection of all people and institutions-now in danger.”
The Jewish Students Front (FEJ), a right-wing organization, demanded that the government “close all anti-Semitic bureaus in France such as the Arab League, the Palestine Library and supporting organizations.” The Liaison Committee of Socialist Students (CES) said it has called on its members “to use all legitimate means to halt the anti-Jewish terrorist campaign.” Protest meetings have been called by various Jewish and Zionist organizations here. The four-story Jewish Agency building also housed the offices of the Franco-Israel Alliance.