MOSCOW (JTA) — Twelve residents of a Jewish apartment block in Azerbaijan were hospitalized with injuries, including knife wounds, after a spate of robberies.
Azerbaijani officials are calling Monday night’s robberies an "attack on the Jewish people" in the predominantly Muslim country.
The attacks occurred in the town of Sumqayit on the coast of the Caspian Sea, according to the AzerTopNews Web site.
There have been tensions between the country’s small Jewish population and the Muslim majority at times when conflicts erupted between Israelis and Palestinians.
Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, the head of a prominent mosque in the region, denounced the attacks.
"Between our two peoples [Jewish and Azerbaijani], there has not and there will not be any misunderstanding, that we don’t dream of acts of violence against the Jewish population of our country," he said.
Local officials convened an emergency meeting to address the violence and seek ways to find and punish the assailants.