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Thursday, December 11, 2003

Car explodes outside Italian synagogue, killing Arab driver

JPost: A car exploding outside a synagogue in the north Italian city of Modena at 4 AM local time Thursday, killing the driver.

According to Italian news services, the driver, a Jordanian citizen, set fire to the car. Two policemen guarding the synagogue spotted the car in flames and attempted to put out the blaze, but moved away just before it blew up. The car was reportedly a liquid propane propelled Peugeot.

No other casualties were reported. Buildings in the immediate area were moderately damaged. Investigators were inclined to believe it was a suicide and not an attack on the synagogue.

Police are not treating the matter as a terror attack, since the odd time of the explosion indicates the driver had no intention of causing fatalities. Cinzia Ricciardi, a police official in Modena, said it appeared the man took his own life but that the investigation was still under way.

There have been several recent anti-Semitic incidents in Italy, which has a Jewish community of some 30,000 people.