Kyrgyzstan Synagogue Attacked

The only synagogue in Kyrgyzstan was attacked for the second time this year, just minutes before the start of Rosh HaShanah. No one was injured.

Chana Ya'ar , | updated: 4:32 PM

Courtyard of the Kyrgyzstan synagogue
Courtyard of the Kyrgyzstan synagogue
Israel news photo: Chabad World Movement

Unidentified attackers attempted to fire bomb the only synagogue in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan last week. The congregation, headed by Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Aryeh Reichman, is the only one in the entire country, in fact. 

No one was injured in the explosion, although the building was reportedly damaged, and the grounds outside were littered with bolts and nails from the makeshift bomb that was lobbed over the fence at the synagogue.

Although a source in the Jewish community told the AFP news agency the attack occurred an hour before Rosh HaShanah services were scheduled to begin, reported the bombing took place while worshipers were actually praying inside the building.

Kyrgyzstan, once a member of the Soviet Union, is currently home to some 2,000 Jews, most of who live in Bishkek. 

The synagogue has been targeted before: in April, the same synagogue was fire bombed while rebels overthrew the government in a bloody uprising that left more than 80 people dead. The local Jewish school decided at the time to temporarily close its doors as a precaution.

Media reports have said the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, linked with the international al-Qaeda terrorist organization, is active in the Muslim-majority nation. This year, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan ended with the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr, the day before Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. 

Kyrgyzstan is bordered by China to the south, and hosts both Russian and American military bases. The base closest to Bishkek – Manas – is allegedly considered crucial in supplying U.S. forces in Afghanistan.