German police arrest suspect after assault near synagogue in Hamburg

German police arrested a man who attacked and seriously injured a Jewish citizen near a synagogue in the northern town of Hamburg as the Jewish community celebrated Sukkoth.

The assault took place nearly one year after a far-right gunman attacked a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas denounced the Hamburg attack as antisemitic and called on Germans to show more civil courage.

“This is not an isolated incident, this is disgusting antisemitism and we must all oppose it!,” Maas said in a tweet.

Reacting on the incident, Dr. Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany stated: “In a democratic constitutional state like Germany, people should not be indifferent to the fact that Jews are increasingly becoming the target of hatred.”

“We thank the Hamburg police for their intervention. However, we must learn from this incident and examine how security measures on site can be improved. Hamburg should follow the lead of other federal states and quickly appoint a coordinator on combatting antisemitism in close coordination with the Jewish community in Hamburg. We expect society as a whole to oppose hatred against Jews decisively – it is in the interest of our democracy and our freedom and to enable Jewish life to continue without restriction,” Schuster added.

A police spokesman said the 29-year-old attacker was accused of causing grievous bodily harm. The attacker seemed to have acted alone so there was no further threat, he added. The motive was unclear, the police spokesman said.

The 29-year-old victim suffered serious head injuries after the suspect assaulted him with a shovel, German media reported. The suspect was wearing military clothes reminiscent of the outfit of the neo-Nazi attacker in Halle, the media reported. The right-wing gunman attacked the synagogue in Halle on Oct. 9 last year and shot two bystanders after failing to enter the building. The suspect Stephan B. confessed to the crime and is standing trial.

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