Russia probes Moscow synagogue assault

Russia's interior ministry is probing an incident at the central Moscow synagogue (AFP Photo/Denis Sinyakov)

Moscow (Russia) (AFP) - Russia's interior ministry on Sunday said it had opened a criminal probe after an intruder shot a security guard at a Moscow synagogue with an air pistol.

Police said a 40-year-old man was arrested Saturday evening after the incident at the central Moscow synagogue, which left the guard needing hospital treatment.

State-run TASS news agency cited a law enforcement source as saying that the man had tried to force his way into the synagogue with a can of petrol.

A spokeswoman for the interior ministry told TASS that a criminal case was opened into potential hooliganism.

"Investigations are being carried out to discover all the circumstances of the attack," spokeswoman Irina Volk said.

The incident came on the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday Rosh Hashanah and Russia's Jewish community urged worshippers not to be put off attending services on Sunday evening.

Russia has a long history of anti-Semitism and racism is widespread in society.