Croatian Leaders in Solidarity with Zagreb’s Jews After Bombing

The leaders of Yugoslavia’s Croatian republic, including the president and Cabinet ministers, expressed sympathy and solidarity with the badly shaken Jewish community here this week.

Officials of all ranks condemned the two bombings early Monday morning that severely damaged the Jewish community center building in the center of Zagreb and the Jewish section of the municipal cemetery.

There were no casualties.

The police announced a $14,000 reward, payable in German marks, for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.

The Croatian-Jewish Society of California has offered an additional $100,000 reward.

The community reported receiving hundreds of letters and telegrams of support from all over Yugoslavia and abroad.

Community leaders were especially gratified by the many messages from Croatian political parties, state institutions, members of parliament and representatives of religious organizations and churches.

Dr. Franjo Tudjman, the president of Croatia, made a public statement on television Wednesday on his return from Belgrade, the national capital.

Several thousand people attended a rally Tuesday organized by the Croatian Democratic Party to protest the assault on the Jewish community. The gathering was broadcast live on Croatian television.

Only hours after the bombings Monday, the Jewish community’s offices were visited by ranking officials of the municipality and the republic. They included Deputy Prime Minister Mate Granic, Interior Minister Ivan Vekic and Mladen Vedris, president of the Zagreb City Council.

‘CRIMINAL TERRORIST ATTACK’

The twin blasts occurred simultaneously at 4:58 a.m. Monday, the community reported. One badly damaged the community building at 16 Palmoticeva St. in downtown Zagreb. The other destroyed part of the Jewish cemetery, which occupies a section of Zagreb’s Mirogoj Central Cemetery.

The blast at the community center was the stronger of the two. It shattered every window in the building and some in nearby houses.

According to initial reports by experts, the building’s structural integrity may have suffered.

The concussion collapsed parts of the walls on the main floor, where the communal offices are located. The main doors at the entrance to the building were reduced to rubble, and cars parked across the street were damaged.

Severe damage was done to electrical, gas and other utility installations in the building.

At the cemetery, several monuments and graves were destroyed.

A statement read Monday night over Zagreb Radio said that “the government of the Republic of Croatia bitterly condemns the criminal terrorist attack on the Jewish community center in Zagreb” and “expresses its solidarity with the Jewish community and all Jews in our country” and “its readiness to protect them.

“It is doing everything so that the perpetrators of this crime are found as soon as possible,” the statement said.

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