SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An explosion and fire gutted a synagogue, and local and federal agents were attempting to determine if the building had been bombed. No one was injured.
Tension over violence in the Middle East was "in the back of everyone’s mind," police Sgt. Joe Sweeny said Saturday.
The fire that raced through Temple Beth El late Friday appeared to have started in an office at the rear of the synagogue, investigators said.
"It was some type of an explosion, but we don’t know what caused it," Syracuse police Sgt. Norm Brown said. "Nobody’s claimed any kind of responsibility and there were no threats prior to it."
The fire occurred at the start of Sukkot, a weeklong festival celebrating the fall harvest and commemorating the desert wanderings of the Hebrews during the Exodus.
Last Monday, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, an arson blaze gutted part of a synagogue under construction in Harrisburg, Pa. In New York City, bottles were thrown at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel last Sunday, breaking a glass front door.
No one was injured in either attack. Four young men were arrested in connection with the New York City vandalism, and a criminal complaint said they did it to make a statement about the Middle East conflict.
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