German Police Foil Attempted Synagogue Terror Attack on Yom Kippur

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The square in front of the entrance to the Jewish Community building is empty after the end of the police operation in Hagen, Germany. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP)

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters)

Police averted a possible Islamist attack on a synagogue in western Germany and arrested four people including a 16-year-old Syrian youth in connection with the threat, the regional interior minister said on Thursday.

Authorities had received a “a very serious and concrete tip” that an attack on the synagogue in the town of Hagen could take place during Yom Kippur, the minister, Herbert Reul, said.

Officers tightened security around the building on Wednesday evening and searched it for bombs but found nothing dangerous, Reul, interior minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told a news conference.

He said the synagogue had called off its celebration of Yom Kippur. The tip-off had included details of the timing of an attack, he added.

Earlier on Thursday, police in Hagen said they had arrested four people as a result of their investigation into the threat and had searched various buildings.

Reul said one of those detained was a 16-year-old from Hagen with Syrian roots.

Germany, still scarred by the Holocaust, has seen a rise in anti-Semitic violence in recent years, mostly carried out by the far-right.

On Yom Kippur of 2019, a right-wing extremist launched an armed attack on a synagogue in the eastern town of Halle, shooting dead two passers-by. Then, police faced criticism for being slow to attend the scene, though they eventually arrested the attacker, who is now serving a life sentence for the murders.

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