ATHENS (Reuters) - Vandals desecrated a Jewish cemetery in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki late on Thursday and three youths were arrested for the attack, authorities said Friday.
The assailants smeared graffiti in the cemetery, police said. Greece’s Jewish Council said the perpetrators were Neo-Nazis who spray painted anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas on the cemetery walls and destroyed graves.
Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have been the target of recent attacks in Greece. In January, arsonists attacked a synagogue on the Aegean island of Crete, alarming Greece’s 8,000-strong Jewish community.
“The government strongly condemns this act of vandalism and police launched an immediate investigation,” government spokesman George Petalotis said.
Thessaloniki was home to about 50,000 Jews before World War II, making it Greece’s biggest Jewish community. Most of them were killed after the Nazis deported them to concentration camps in eastern Europe.
Reporting by Harry Papachristou and Dina Kyriakidou; Editing by Matthew Jones