German security chief worried over anti-Semitic crime

AFP/The Local
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German security chief worried over anti-Semitic crime
Policemen stand guard in front of a building housing the synagogue of the Kahal Adass Jisroel Jewish community in Berlin, Germany, on October 18, 2023. Anti-Semitic offences have risen in Germany in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

The head of Germany's domestic security agency said Friday he was worried by a rise in anti-Semitic offences in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict, comparing it to the "worst times in German history".


Hamas gunmen stormed across the border from Gaza into Israel on October 7, carrying out the deadliest attack since the country was created in 1948.

In retaliation, Israel announced it would destroy Hamas and began a relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

The outbreak of the conflict, which has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians on both sides, has seen an increase in anti-Semitic violence, Thomas Haldenwang, the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), told German magazine Spiegel.

Anti-Semitic crime figures had long been very high, but the recent rise was a "turning point", Haldenwang said.

"I fear that this new wave of anti-Semitism will continue to occupy us for a long time," he said.

A molotov cocktail was recently thrown towards a synagogue in Berlin, while police have banned multiple pro-Palestinian protests, citing the risk of anti-Semitic incidents.

The circumstances "recall the worst times of German history", Haldenwang said, referring to the country's Nazi past.

There were signs that "the situation could worsen further", Haldenwang warned.

"Our great concern is that disturbing images will emerge in the Gaza Strip as the war continues. And that this then leads to further radicalisation here in Germany."


All in all, some 1,800 offences related to the Israel-Hamas conflict had been recorded since its outbreak, Haldenwang said.

More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas carried out its attack on October 7, while over 220 others were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

The Hamas-run health ministry said Friday Israeli strikes on Gaza had now killed 7,326 people, mainly civilians and many of them children.




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