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Despite Shelling and Rumors, Zagreb Jews Are Staying Put

The Jewish community of Zagreb is not planning to evacuate any of its members, despite rumors that have sprouted due to this week’s attacks by rebel Serbs on Croatia’s capital, said Dunja Sprajc, secretary-general of the Zagreb Jewish community.

Sprajc’s comments on Wednesday came shortly after a new barrage of Serb missile attacks landed in the heart of the city.

On Tuesday, shells fell in downtown Zagreb, close to the Jewish community center and the U.S. Embassy. At least five people were killed and more than 100 were injured in the attacks.

The Serb attacks came in response to an offensive by the government of Croatia earlier in the week, which broke the “permanent cease-fire” signed last year by both groups.

In the Jewish community, no casualties as a result of the shelling were reported. About 1,400 Jews live in Zagreb. A total of 2,000 Jews live in Croatia.

Sprajc denied news reports in Israel that the Zagreb community was preparing for the evacuation of Jewish children from the city.

The Jewish Agency for Israel has offered help and suggested that the community prepare lists of children in the event of an evacuation, Sprajc said. But so far, the lists have not been made.

“We are now in Zagreb under the same situation as all others and we share the fate of the rest of the population,” Sprajc said.

She said there are no immediate plans for evacuation, despite a general air of pessimism in the city and anticipation that the situation may escalate.

When asked where the latest series of events might lead, Sprajc replied, “You in the outside world should know better than us. Nobody knows here.”

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