Machine gun-toting police form ring of steel around a German synagogue

Machine gun-toting police form ring of steel around a German synagogue on Yom Kippur amid fears of attack on the building

  • Police on the scene said nobody had been hurt during the operation in Hagen
  • Police declined to give further details about threat, which came on Yom Kippur
  • Spokesman Timo Schaefer said: ‘A very large police operation is underway here’

Police stepped up protection of a synagogue in western Germany on Wednesday after receiving reports of a possible threat, but no injuries were reported.

A police officer on the scene said nobody had been hurt during the operation in Hagen, a town of some 200,000 on the fringes of the Ruhr industrial region.

Police declined to give further details about the threat, which coincided with the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, when Jews hold overnight vigils in synagogues.

A police officer on the scene said nobody had been hurt during the operation in Hagen, a town of some 200,000 on the fringes of the Ruhr industrial region

Spokesman Timo Schaefer said: ‘A very large police operation is underway here in Hagen.

‘We had a hint that there was a threat to a Jewish institution. Acting on this information, we increased the security around this institution.’

Mayor Erik Schulz told Westfalenpost: ‘As little as we know about the exact situation – our thoughts are with the Jewish community of Hagen.’

A spokesman for North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul added: ‘The minister is fully informed about the possible threat.’

The operation, which began at 7.30pm local time, was still ongoing five hours later, with machine-gun bearing officers standing around the building.

There was no indication of how long the operation was planned to continue and it was unclear if anyone was inside.

Police later added the road passing directly in front of the synagogue was closed and they were escorting passers-by through the closed section on request.

In 2019, a right-wing extremist launched an armed attack on a synagogue in the eastern town of Halle, shooting dead two passers-by.

Then, police faced criticism for being slow to attend the scene, though they eventually arrested the attacker, who is now serving a life sentence for the murders.

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