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German police thwart potential Yom Kippur attack on synagogue

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Sept. 17 (UPI) — Authorities in Germany said they have foiled a potential attack on a synagogue in the western city of Hagen.

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In a statement Thursday, police said a tip concerning the threat led to the arrest of a 16-year-old boy. Three others were arrested following a search of his apartment.

The arrests follow police receiving information the day prior “about a possible danger situation to the detriment of a Jewish institution in Hagen,” a city about 37 miles east of Dusseldorf, it said.

German regional interior minister Herbert Reul told reporters in a press conference that they believe the threat situation was “Islamist motivated,” CNN reported.

“We received a very specific and serious tipoff that an attack on the synagogue could take place during the Yom Kippur festival,” he said. “In concrete terms: a specific time, place and perpetrator were named.”

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Reul identified the 16-year-old as a Syrian national.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to protect our population,” Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer said in a statement. “Never again must Jews live in fear in our country. There is no place in our society for anti-Semites.”

Armin Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia where Hagen is located, said the arrests show that the threat of international terrorism “continues to be one of the great challenges of our time.”

“Regardless of whether they are Islamist, anti-Semitic, right-wing or left-wing extremists — we can only tackle the fight against globally networked terrorism resolutely and in cooperation with our international parters,” he tweeted. “All our efforts are directed toward the protection of our Jewish fellow citizens. During these hours, we are connected to you in a special way.”

Yom Kippur, which began Wednesday evening and ended the night following, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. In 2019 during the holiday that fell in October of that year, a gunman shot and killed two people outside a synagogue in the German city of Halle.

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