by: Kate Norman
Friday, 17 September 2021 | German police thwarted a possible Islamist attack on a synagogue in western Germany on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), officials reported Thursday.
German regional interior minister Herbert Reul told a press conference on Thursday that they “received a very specific and serious tip-off that an attack on the synagogue could take place during the Yom Kippur festival. A reference was made to an Islamist-motivated threat situation.”
“In concrete terms: a specific time, place and perpetrator were named.”
Four people, including a 16-year-old Syrian boy, were arrested in connection with a threat to bomb a synagogue in Hagen, north of Cologne. Three of them were released by Thursday evening, while the teenager remains in custody, Deutsche Welle reported.
After receiving a tip about the possible threat, police on Wednesday scoured the synagogue and the surrounding area but found nothing dangerous, according to Reul.
The Syrian teenager did, however, contact an expert in building bombs, Deutsche Welle reported, citing prosecutors. Investigators are also reportedly searching phones and hard drives that they confiscated from suspects.
Due to the threat, the local Jewish community had to cancel a planned Yom Kippur event scheduled for Wednesday evening, plunging their holy day of repentance and reflection into fear and hiding.
“It is intolerable that Jews are again exposed to such a horrible threat and that they cannot celebrate the start of their highest holiday, Yom Kippur, together,” said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht.
The foiled attack is not the first recent attempt to spill Jewish blood on German soil during the Day of Atonement. On Yom Kippur 2019, a gun-toting right-wing extremist tried to break into a synagogue in Halle, central Germany, while more than 50 local Jews were holding a Yom Kippur service inside.
Failing to enter the synagogue, the terrorist shot two passersby. He was later arrested and is now serving a life sentence.
The Halle attack, however, brought a storm of condemnation over German Jews having to live in fear and needing extra security in order to worship safely in synagogues.
Germany has seen a rise in anti-Semitic attacks over the past few years, often attributed to the growth of far-right extremism as well as an influx of refugees from the Middle East, some of whom are Islamic extremists.
Posted on September 17, 2021
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 17, 2021)
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