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A prosecutor says a foreign link is possible to the dozens of Stars of David stenciled around Paris

PARIS (AP) — Two couples who allegedly stenciled dozens of blue Stars of David on buildings in Paris and two of its suburbs last week are linked by a third party living abroad, the Paris prosecutor said Tuesday. The link was based on a telephone conversation by one couple in Russian, a statement said.

“At this stage, it is not excluded that the markings of the blue Stars of David in the Paris region were made at the explicit demand of a person living abroad,” prosecutor Laure Beccuau said. An investigating judge was taking over the case, “as much to identify the authors as to analyze the intentions that guided the operation.”

The war between Israel and Hamas has led to at least 1,040 known acts of antisemitism in France, the interior minister said Sunday. But the prosecutor's office investigating the appearance of 60 blue stars, similar to those on the Israeli flag, has yet to conclude whether those who put up the stencils had antisemitic intent, Tuesday's statement said.

Surveillance video showed a man and a woman marking buildings, with a third person photographing them, on walls in Paris and the suburbs of Seine Saint Denis and Hauts de Seine, the statement said. The couple fled France the following day.

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The statement said that four days earlier, a separate couple from Moldova and lacking proper papers to remain in France was detained after being seen stenciling a star on a Paris building, then held for expulsion from the country.

“They declared acting under orders from a third person and for remuneration,” the prosecutor's statement said, adding that an examination of their telephone revealed a conversation in Russian confirming the claim. Many Moldovans speak Russian.

“Telephone investigation allows us to think that the two couples ... were in relation with the same third person,” or party, the statement said.

It did not indicate whether the nationality of the third party was known.