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Religious sites on high alert in France

A French police officer secured the main entrance of a synagogue in Paris on Sunday.

Christian Hartmann /REUTERS

A French police officer secured the main entrance of a synagogue in Paris on Sunday.

PARIS — France is boosting security at Jewish and other religious sites after blanks were fired at a synagogue and police accused a suspected cell of radical Islamists of ties to a grenade attack on a kosher grocery.

President Francois Hollande sought Sunday to allay tensions between Jews and Muslims aggravated by a recent series of violent incidents in the country.

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Hollande singled out hateful extremists for criticism and urged respect for all religions in a country that is officially secular, but which has Western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities.

He said that authorities “in the coming days, in the coming hours” would increase security at religious sites so they will not be subject to the kind of attack that targeted a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil on Saturday night.

A synagogue representative said witnesses heard what sounded like a weapon being fired and that police said blanks had been fired and empty bullet casings found. Local police would not comment on the incident. Services were canceled at the synagogue Saturday night because of the incident, a representative said.

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