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France investigates suspected Russian role in Star of David graffiti in Paris

French police are investigating whether Stars of David spray-painted on Parisian buildings in late October were directed by Russian actors.
A woman walks along a building whose facade is covered with Stars of David painted during the night, in the Alesia district of Paris, France, Oct. 31, 2023.

PARIS — French police are investigating whether Stars of David spray-painted on buildings, discovered at the end of October in Parisian neighborhoods and suburbs, were part of destabilization efforts engineered by Russia, France Info radio reported Tuesday.

Paris prosecutors opened a formal investigation on Oct. 31 after the discovery of more than 200 Stars of David, all identical in form and color, sprayed onto residential buildings, shops and banks. They were found mostly in Paris' 14th arrondissement, but also in the 10th and 15th arrondissements and in the suburbs of Vanves, Fontenay-aux-Roses, Aubervilliers and Saint-Ouen. In Saint-Ouen, the stars were accompanied by statements including "From the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, Palestine will overcome," a slogan chanted at pro-Palestinian demonstrations across France in recent weeks. 

The prosecutor's office said in an Oct. 31 statement that Paris police are investigating "damage to other people's property aggravated by the fact that it was committed on the grounds of origin, race, ethnicity or religion."

The graffitied stars sparked an uproar across France, reviving memories of the persecution of Jews in France and Europe throughout the 20th century. "This act of stenciling is reminiscent of the methods used in the 1930s and the Second World War, which led to the extermination of millions of Jews," the 14th arrondissement municipality said in a press release.

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