ROME (Oct. 31)
Two 18-year-old youths have been arrested for attacking a synagogue here with Molotov cocktails last Thursday night. The target was a small synagogue on the Via Garfagnana, near Piazza Bologna, a neighborhood inhabited by Libyan Jews since 1967. There were no casual ties or damage.
But the incident raised tensions anew in Rome’s Jewish community, coming only 17 days after the machinegun and grenade attack on the main synagogue which killed a two-year-old child and wounded 33 men, women and children.
Police identified the suspects as Riccarab Renzoni and Luca Franco. They are charged with “possession of arms” and “hurling inflammable material.” An anonymous telephone caller told the Rome daily II Messaggero that the attack was carried out by The Metropolitan Communist Front … We hit the Zionist headquarters on Via Garfognana, occupying the nearby area,” the caller said.
According to unconfirmed reports, the police have not yet determined whether the assailants belong to a leftist group of whether they are neo-fascists. Eye witnesses said a group of youths hurled Molotov cocktails at the synagogue at about 8 p.m. local time when the burlding was empty. They reported seeing “plainclothesmen” shoot several times at the attackers.
A few minutes later the group was seen in the nearby Via Reggio Calabria where they hung a banned stating, “We will destroy the Zionist headquarters.”
The banner contained a hammer and sickle and the initials, “MCF. “Another Molotov cocktail exploded, damaging a parked car.
SEES ORGANIZED DESIGN IN ATTACKS
Chief Rabbi Elio Tooff of Rome rushed to the synagogue. He told reporters, “The anti-Semitic seed that were sown are bearing their first fruits.” Later, Raffaello Fellah, the Rome representative of the World Sephardic Federation, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “It matters little whether the terrorists are from the right or left… What matters is that there seems to be an organized design to hit Jewish institutions.”
The fatal daylight attack on the main synagogue near the banks of the Tiber October 8 was the climax of a series of violent anti-Jewish acts in Rome. Only the night before, four bombs exploded in a supermarket in a heavily Jewish populated neighborhood. The group that claimed responsibility called itself the “Anti-Begin Proletarians.”
Several days before the attack on the main synagogue, the Libyan Jewish quarter was the scene of on anti- Jewish demonstration outside a Jewish social center. The demonstration was believed to have been in retaliation for an earlier bombing that wrecked an apartment house where the Radio Onda Rosa (Left Wave Radio) had been broadcasting anti-Israel programs. The leftists blamed the Rome Jewish Defense League for the bombing.