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Europe

Blast on Purpose?

Amid a spate of attacks on Jewish targets, an explosion at a Tunesian synagogue has cost the lives of 16, including 10 Germans.

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Middle East violence may have been imported to Djerba

The number of victims killed in an explosion on the Tunisian island of Djerba has risen to 16. Ten of those killed were German tourists visiting the Ghriba synagogue.

So far, the Tunisian government has declared the tragic incident as an accident, due to a truck carrying cooking gas crashing into the synagogue.

But German Interior Minister Otto Schily has confirmed that German investigators working with local authorities say the blast was planned.

"The evidence which is available to us, either gathered by us or provided by the Tunisians, only reinforces the suspicion that the incident was indeed an attack," Otto Schily, German Interior Minister said.

Schily said he didn't believe that the blast had been aimed at German tourists, but against the synagogue - a Jewish house of worship. He called the incident a vile crime.

The explosion came amid a spate of attacks on Jewish targets in France and Belgium stemming from the escalation in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Israeli government called it a deliberate attack.

The explosion killed six German nationals, five women and an 11-year-old boy, the German Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday. Many Germans were also injured, nineteen of which are still in the hospital.

The Foreign Ministry updated its travel recommendations on Friday, advising German tourists abroad not to join crowds in public places.

More demonstrations

Meanwhile, Middle East violence has continued to effect Europe.

In the German capital some eleven thousand protesters took to the streets, calling for an end to the Israeli offensive. The demonstration was mainly peaceful, except for a group of protesters who threw stones at the British Embassy.

Fifteen thousand protesters marched in London from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square where they were addressed by a number of politicians and peace activists.

In Amsterdam, ten thousand people staged a peaceful demonstration, but the rally turned violent when a group of 300 mainly youthful demonstrators hurled bottles and stones at police.

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