PARIS (Mar. 31)
Three masked gunmen strafed the Israel military trade mission this afternoon just as the staff was about to leave for lunch. A police officer guarding the building which houses the mission said that had the trio opened fire a minute or two later, several people among those leaving the building might have been seriously injured or killed. As it turned out, no one was injured in the gunfire.
The three attackers arrived in a car which stopped in front of the building in the center of Paris. The masked assailants shot several bursts of automatic fire and sped away before the French policeman on duty could return the fire or even take down the number of the car’s license.
The new head of the mission, Brig. Gen. Amir Reuveni who also serves as Israel’s military attache in Paris, was not in the building at the time of the attack.
French police set up road blocks through Paris for close to an hour but failed to find the car or the attackers. A crowd of Jewish well-wishers gathered at the site, in spite of rain, and French Chief Rabbi Rene Shmuel Sirat came to congratulate the staff for their escape
BUILDING IS A LANDMARK
The Boulevard Malsherbes building, where the mission is located, is a landmark in Franco-Israeli relations. Opened over 25 years ago, it housed the Israeli purchasing mission at the time of the joint Franco-Israeli Suez operation. Part of the operation was planned there.
The Boulevard Malsherbes site also served Israel at the time of the huge Israeli arms purchase in France. The building is well protected with heavy steel shutters covering its windows and a police guard permanently stationed in front of it.