German police detain ‘Palestinian’ teen over synagogue attack

Protesters argue with German riot police officers during a rally in Berlin, July 25, 2014.

Protesters argue with German riot police officers during a rally in Berlin, July 25, 2014.

German police detained an 18-year-old man over an attempted arson attack against a synagogue Tuesday which drew a shocked reaction from the country’s Jewish community.

The building in the western city of Wuppertal was not damaged in the incident and no one was hurt, a police spokesman said.

The suspect was arrested soon after the early-morning attack, in which incendiary devices were thrown at the building.

“He identified himself as Palestinian,” a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said, adding that his identity could not immediately be verified.

Witnesses said they saw another two men hurling flaming bottles but they evaded police.

The head of Germany’s 200,000-strong Jewish community, Dieter Graumann, said the news of the attempted firebombing “left us aghast”.

“There had already been various threats against Jewish institutions that deserve the particular attention of the authorities,” he told a local newspaper.

Jewish leaders and political officials have recently warned of a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic slogans and chants in Germany at pro-Palestinian rallies organised against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

The vast majority of the demonstrations have been peaceful. But authorities are on high alert for illegal anti-Semitic hate speech in Germany, where atonement for the slaughter of some six million European Jews in the Holocaust is a pillar of the post-war order.

 
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