Anti-Semitic Graffiti Tagged on Notre Dame

Anti-Semitic graffiti, including a sign saying "death to Jews," was found Saturday scrawled on the grounds of the Notre Dame cathedral (search) in Paris.

The graffiti, which included a swastika, was written in black marker on a low wall along the cathedral facing the Seine River. Three stones of the wall had been dislodged, police said.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe (search) said he was "saddened and sickened" by the vandalism. "I deeply hope that those responsible for this new insult to the values of our civilization will be quickly identified and severely sanctioned," he said.

The graffiti was discovered four days after vandals wrote anti-Semitic slurs on about 60 tombstones in a cemetery in the southeastern city of Lyon. Similar graffiti also covered a World War II monument to Jewish soldiers at the entrance to La Mouche cemetery.

Tombs at two Jewish cemeteries in Alsace have been desecrated in the past three months.

The archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger (search), suggested that youths caught up in a "game of provocation, a game of cat and mouse" and "manipulated" by others might be behind recent attacks, including cemetery desecrations.

"We must quickly find out who is doing this," he said from Lourdes, where Pope John Paul II was visiting.

The mayor said that places of worship and cemeteries around Paris have been under increased surveillance since July.

Signs of anti-Semitism have increased in France in recent years, sometimes coinciding with rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Young Muslims have been blamed for some attacks, but Muslim cemeteries also have been desecrated — one earlier this month.