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Molotov cocktails thrown at Berlin synagogue — police

October 18, 2023

Berlin police said that they were probing the attack in the city's Mitte district. There were no reports of injuries or damage. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has vowed to fight anti-Semitism in Germany.

German police officer in front of Kahal Adass Jisroel Jewish community center
The Kahal Adass Jisroel Jewish community center in the Mitte area of Berlin has been targeted in an attempted firebombingImage: Markus Schreiber/AP Photo/picture alliance

Attackers threw two Molotov cocktails at a synagogue and a Jewish community center in Berlin overnight, police said on Wednesday.

Following the attack, Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed that the government would fight antisemitism in Germany.

The attack comes as a conflict rages between Israel and the Islamist militant group Hamas, which Germany, the EU and several other countries classify as a terrorist organization.

What did police say about the attack?

Berlin police said they were probing the attack in the city's Mitte district. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The attack occurred around 3:45 a.m. local time (0145 GMT).

"Two unidentified people came on foot and threw two burning bottles filled with liquid in the direction of the synagogue on Brunnenstrasse," police said in a statement.

"The bottles landed on the pavement and broke, extinguishing the fire."

People enter Kahal Adass Jisroel community building while it is cordoned off by police
Police and community representatives said there were no casualties or damage to the centerImage: Markus Schreiber/AP Photo/picture alliance

After the attackers ran away, security forces managed to put out a small fire that had been left, "preventing further consequences," according to the statement.

The Kahal Adass Jisroel group that runs the synagogue confirmed that "people and the building, fortunately, were unharmed."

Police said that a man attempted to approach the synagogue at around 8 a.m. and began shouting anti-Israel slogans after officers stopped him.

The man has been released, and a probe has been opened against him on charges of incitement of racial hatred and an attempted attack on an officer.

'No tolerance' for attacks against Jewish institutions

Germany's chancellor posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, condemning antisemitism without mentioning the Molotov cocktail incident specifically.

"Attacks against Jewish institutions, violent riots on our streets — this is inhumane, disgusting and cannot be tolerated," Scholz said.

"Antisemitism has no place in Germany. My thanks go to the security forces, especially in this situation," he said.

Meanwhile, Israel's embassy called for Germany to address antisemitic attacks with "unwavering severity."

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that the protection of Jewish institutions in Germany had the "highest priority" and called the attack on Wednesday a "despicable act."

Berlin's Jewish Community called for solidarity with the targeted synagogue.

"85 years after Kristallnacht, synagogues in Germany's capital are set to burn again," said community chair Gideon Joffe, referring to mass looting and arson of Jewish businesses and institutions under Nazi Germany.

"The anti-Jewish violence on the streets of Berlin has thus taken on a new dimension."

Joffe said that Jews in Berlin still felt unsafe despite increased security measures.

sdi/jcg (AFP, dpa, Reuters)