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German police investigating arson attack on synagogue

BERLIN (AP) — A synagogue in western Germany has been hit by an arson attack, with unknown perpetrators setting fire to eight corners of the building and throwing a Molotov cocktail against a window, prosecutors said Monday.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and there were no injuries or serious damage to the building, police said in a statement. Officers found several copies of a letter claiming responsibility for the attack which read, in badly worded German: "As soon as you don't leave the Palestinians in peace, we won't let you in peace."

Prosecutor Klaus-Peter Mieth, however, told journalists in Worms that it was to early to draw conclusions about the perpetrators' political background. All possibilities are being investigated, German news agency DDP quoted him as saying.

Police have set up a task force with 35 investigators.

Overnight, someone poured flammable liquid on the stone building and set it alight, police said. The explosion of the Molotov cocktail then woke up a neighbor, who alerted police.

The synagogue in Worms, a city southwest of Frankfurt, was destroyed by the Nazis and then rebuilt after the war.

Following the incident, security for all synagogues in Rhineland-Palatinate state was increased. Governor Kurt Beck condemned the attack and vowed to mobilize all necessary resources to find the perpetrators, DDP reported. "We will not tolerate such an attack on a synagogue," Beck said.