Neo-nazis Disrupt Synagogue Services

Three neo-fascist youths, who burst into the main synagogue here during Saturday morning services shouting “Sieg Heil” and “death to the Jews”, were rescued by police after infuriated worshippers surrounded their getaway car at a traffic intersection.

The three, all aged 20, were taken to police headquarters where four members of the congregation lodged an official complaint. They were then released. The incident will be brought before the judicial authorities who must decide whether to take further action. It is certain to renew demands by Jewish institutions in Rome for more adequate police protection.

Such demands have been made repeatedly as anti-Semitic assaults have increased in recent years but the police response has been only sporadic. Rome’s main synagogue on the banks of the Tiber has been a frequent target. Several years ago, fire bombs exploded outside the building. The Chief Rabbi’s car was burned last November. Three young Soviet Jews were seriously injured last year when a bomb exploded outside their usual gathering place at the central post office in Ostia, near Rome.

Other bomb targets have been the Israel Tourist Office and the El Al Office in Rome and at the airport. The trio that invaded the synagogue Saturday was identified as Italian neo-fascists. They raised their right arms in the fascist salute, which is forbidden, and shouted their epithets in front of a memorial plaque for Rome Jews deported by the Nazis.

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