Initial media reports that protesters had burned down an ancient synagogue in the Tunisian city of Gabes were later refuted, with accusations of provocation by ex-regime members.
Reuters, AFP and other wire services reported Feb. 1 that a synagogue was set aflame by arsonists in the Tunisian city of Gabes overnight, in a wave of nocturnal violence that also affected the capital. "I condemn this action and I believe those who did it want to create divisions between Jews and Muslims in Tunisia who have lived for decades in peace," said local Jewish community leader Peres Trabelsi. "What especially shocked me was the fact that there was a police force not far from the synagogue when it was attacked," he added. However, later the same day, AFP retracted the story, saying without elaboration that their sources had withdrawn the accusation.