MOSCOW (Apr. 21)
An explosion ripped through a Jewish community center in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, causing no injuries but seriously damaging the 2-story building housing the center in the city’s historic quarter.
The bomb used in last Friday’s attack contained a charge equivalent to more than two pounds of TNT, a spokesperson for regional police said in a telephone interview.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Some in the Jewish community thought that the perpetrators would never be apprehended.
“I think no one will be arrested and punished,” said Inna Davidova, director of the Hesed Charitable Society and member of the community’s executive board.
She said she saw no reason for anyone to attack the community, adding, “We have always had a good relationship with the authorities and with the general community.”
The community center is located in a synagogue that was erected in 1916. In 1934, the building was confiscated by local Communist authorities. The Jewish community recovered the property in 1994.
Along with a synagogue, the center houses local organizations that serve the needs of the 2,500-member Jewish community in Yaroslavl, about 130 miles northeast of Moscow.
The explosion, caused by a bomb planted outside the center, shattered all the windows in the building and in some neighboring houses.
An office of the Hesed society and a room that served as the community library suffered the worst damage.
The attack came a day after the Israeli army shelled a U.N. base in southern Lebanon, killing at least 75 refugees who had taken shelter there.
Some Russian media reports suggested another connection, noting a possible link between the bombing of the center and the birthday of Adolf Hitler, which falls on April 20 and which is sometimes marked by Russian neo-Nazis with acts of violence.
Citing another possible connection, the Russian daily Moskovsky Komsomolets noted that several members of a neo-Nazi group known as the Werewolf Legion were recently sentenced to jail terms by a regional court in Yaroslavl.
The paper suggested the explosion may have been carried out by supporters of the jailed neo-Nazis.