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HomeDefenceFrance ‘investigating whether Russia behind’ graffiti on Holocaust memorial

France ‘investigating whether Russia behind’ graffiti on Holocaust memorial

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France is investigating whether graffiti painted on the wall of Paris’s Holocaust memorial last week was a destabilisation operation coordinated from Russia, French media have reported.

On the morning of 14 May, about 20 spray-painted red hand symbols were discovered on one of the memorial’s exterior walls, which is dedicated to honouring individuals who saved Jews from persecution during the Nazi occupation of France.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, immediately reported the graffiti to prosecutors as a possible antisemitic act. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, condemned the act as one of “odious antisemitism”. He wrote on X that this vandalism damaged “the memory” of those who saved Jews during the Holocaust and of the victims.

The French public broadcaster France Info said a source with knowledge of the investigation had confirmed this week that video surveillance of the Holocaust memorial had recorded two figures arriving at about 3am with spray paint and stencils, as well as two or three other people who may have been involved. They were reportedly quickly identified from mobile phone information.

All were Bulgarian and left Paris by coach for Brussels later the same morning just after spray-painting the graffiti, France Info reported, confirming an earlier report in the satirical weekly Canard Enchaîné.

Investigators are now considering whether the red-hand graffiti was ordered by Russian security services and could have followed a similar pattern to that suspected in another graffiti campaign last autumn, when the Star of David was spray-painted on buildings in and around Paris, causing similar shock and fears over antisemitism.

In October, about 60 Stars of David were discovered on walls in Paris and districts on the outskirts. All were in a blue similar to the blue of the Israeli national flag.

A Moldovan couple were arrested in that case and their alleged handler, a pro-Russian Moldovan businessman, was identified, according to Agence France-Presse.

French prosecutors said at the time they were investigating whether the two Moldovans who admitted to spray-painting Stars of David on the walls of Parisian properties did so at the behest of someone abroad.

The Paris state prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, said during last year’s investigation that the graffiti had been carried out at the “express demand” of an individual residing abroad.

French authorities suspected Russia’s security services were behind that campaign, a source with knowledge of the case told AFP.

Source: The Guardian

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