Police say a plan to attack a German synagogue on Yom Kippur was foiled

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Police say a plan to attack a German synagogue on Yom Kippur was foiled

Authorities reportedly thwarted the Islamist attack on the shul in Hagen, with a 16-year-old with ties to ISIS held, while his father and brothers were released

A person with a flag of Israel stands next to flowers and candles in front of a synagogue in Halle, Germany, following a terror shooting on Yom Kippur (AP Photo/Jens Meyer via Jewish News)
A person with a flag of Israel stands next to flowers and candles in front of a synagogue in Halle, Germany, following a terror shooting on Yom Kippur (AP Photo/Jens Meyer via Jewish News)

German police said they thwarted a planned Islamist attack on a synagogue in Hagen on Yom Kippur after receiving a tip from an unnamed foreign intelligence service.

Officers took a father of Syrian background and three sons into custody for questioning on Thursday morning, according to the newspaper Die Welt. All but one son — a 16-year-old with ties to Islamists abroad — were released.

The synagogue in Hagen, a city near Dusseldorf in western Germany, was under police protection on Wednesday, and Yom Kippur services were canceled the following day.

Jewish community leaders had not commented as of Thursday.

In a statement, the Central Council of Jews in Germany thanked the security authorities and said the apparent plan to attack a synagogue “on the highest holiday … shows that the increase in security measures at many Jewish institutions was and is necessary.”

Herbert Reul, minister of the interior for the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, told the German media that police had received a concrete tip, including the time and location of the planned attack, and the name of the suspect.

The 16-year-old, a Syrian national, reportedly had made comments on the internet platform Telegram to someone named “Abu Hab” about attacking the synagogue on a Jewish holiday.

Focus magazine reported that the contact had shared bomb-making instructions with the teen. The suspect told investigators that he had not planned such an attack.

While police confiscated phones and hard drives, no bomb-making materials had yet been found. Investigators reportedly are working with terrorism authorities on the case.

The Hagen community had 264 members in 2020, according to Germany’s Jewish communal welfare organisation. The synagogue was built in 1960.

On Yom Kippur in 2019, a right-wing extremist tried to shoot his way into the synagogue in Halle. Unable to breach the door, he shot and killed two passersby. The gunman is serving a life sentence.

One year ago, Germany pledged an increase of about $26 million to its Jewish umbrella organisation to cover the costs of drastic improvements to the physical security of synagogues and other communal buildings.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: