TOULOUSE, France – Assailants broke into a Jewish sports center on Saturday and set fire to several rooms, center officials said, the latest in a string of anti-Semitic attacks in France.
Charred sporting equipment was strewn about the ground and several rooms were blackened at the Maccabee association center in the southern city of Toulouse. Small fires that erupted went out on their own, center officials said.
"This isn't anything other than an anti-Semitic act," said association president Robert Bensimon in a telephone interview. "It doesn't appear to have been thieves, because neither our computers or money were stolen."
Police confirmed the incident and said an investigation was under way, but did not provide additional details. No one was injured, they said. No groups claimed responsibility.
The assailants appeared to have thrown four gasoline bombs inside the building, damaging several rooms including a kitchen and an eating area, Bensimon said.
The incident came a day before dozens of Jewish and anti-racist groups are expected to lead marches in several French cities, including Toulouse, to denounce recent anti-Semitic attacks in France and express support for Israel.
The government deployed riot police at Jewish religious sites and schools across the country after an arson attack last Sunday destroyed a synagogue in the southern city of Marseille.
There were three attacks on French synagogues over the Passover-Easter weekend, embarrassing a government that has tried to play down accusations that anti-Semitism is a growing problem in France.
A new spate of anti-Jewish violence broke out in France after fighting between Israelis and Palestinians escalated in the Middle East in late 2000. The number of attacks has increased in recent weeks along with heightened tensions in the region.