Man assaulted, wounded outside synagogue in German city

International

BERLIN (AP) — A man was assaulted and wounded outside a synagogue in Hamburg on Sunday, police said. The suspected perpetrator was arrested, and Germany’s foreign minister denounced the assault as “repugnant anti-Semitism.”

The 26-year-old victim, who was apparently about to enter the synagogue grounds, was hit in the head with what appeared to be a folding spade, police said. The suspect, a 29-year-old German man, was wearing military-style clothing.

The victim was given first aid at the scene by passers-by, then taken to a hospital with injuries that were described as “significant” but not life-threatening.

Officers who were on hand to protect the synagogue arrested the suspect, a police statement said. It added that the background to the assault is under investigation.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, which first reported on the assault, said that the victim is a Jewish student who was wearing a skullcap. Police later said that the suspect, a German with Kazakh roots, left an “extremely confused impression” and questioning him was difficult.

News agency dpa reported, without citing sources, that the suspected assailant had a piece of paper with a swastika in his pocket.

The assault, which occurred during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, comes amid heightened concern in Germany over anti-Semitism and far-right extremism.

Nearly a year ago, a heavily armed white supremacist targeted a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. He killed a passer-by and a man at a nearby kebab stall after failing to force his way into the building.

Security has since been increased at Jewish institutions across the country.

“This is not an isolated case — this is repugnant anti-Semitism and we must all stand up against it,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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