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Germany: 16-year old Syrian planned terrorist attack on synagogue

State guards are searching the apartment of a young Syrian: The 16-year-old is said to have prepared an explosives attack. He and three other suspects were arrested.

After a major operation in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Hagen on Wednesday evening, the police are currently searching the apartment of a young person suspected of terrorism. The 16-year-old Syrian is said to have planned to commit an explosives attack on the local synagogue.

Suspicious news
The security authorities had previously received a tip from a foreign secret service. The partner service therefore warned of a suspected Islamist in Germany who behaved suspiciously on the Internet. According to Der Spiegel, the extremist is said to have spoken of an explosives attack on a synagogue in a monitored communication with a chat partner. The investigation led to the 16-year-old Syrian who lives in Hagen in an apartment with his father.

The reason for his possible plan is said to have been the beginning of the highest Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur. The public prosecutor's office in Düsseldorf is investigating the young person on suspicion of preparing a serious act of violence that is dangerous to the state.

Search in the morning
Since the early evening hours, a large number of police had protected the Hagen synagogue. A planned service and other celebrations have been canceled. Explosive detection dogs were used in the premises and the surrounding area. The police could not find any indications of an imminent risk on site. State security officers have been searching the suspect's apartment since the morning hours.

He was arrested. In addition, three other men were arrested in an apartment near the main train station. The street in which the apartment is located has been blocked. The police searched a suspicious vehicle parked there.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) said there was a "serious extremist threat". "There was a risk of an attack on the synagogue in Hagen," said Reul on Thursday at the swearing-in ceremony for young police officers in Cologne. "Your colleagues probably prevented that."

The operation in the evening brought back memories of the terrorist attack in Halle on the Yom Kippur festival in 2019, when a right-wing extremist shot two people and injured two others near a synagogue.

Highest Jewish holiday
Since the Jewish New Year celebrations in early September, the period of commemoration and penance ends on Yom Kippur. The Dortmund police responsible for the Hagen case announced that they were in close contact with the Jewish community.

The Jewish community in Hagen is small. According to the Central Welfare Office for Jews in Germany, it had 264 members in 2020.

Source: Der Spiegel
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