French minister pays respects at desecrated Jewish cemetery

PARIS, Dec 14 - French Interior minister Christophe Castaner on Friday paid his respects at a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg, days after 37 of its tombstones and a monument to Holocaust victims were defaced with Nazi symbols.

Castaner said the "abject" desecration could have been conducted by a far right group, but did not elaborate as an investigation was ongoing.

The attack took place hours before a suspected Islamist militant gunman killed four people at a Christmas market in the heart of nearby Strasbourg on Tuesday. Authorities have not linked the two incidents.

Strasbourg reopened its traditional Christmas market under heavy security on Friday, the morning after French police shot dead the gunman suspected of Tuesday evening's shootings.