Belgium: Man armed with knives tries to enter synagogue

Man 'with Iraqi roots' pretending to be Jewish tries to enter synagogue with knives, amid string of incidents in Antwerp over Shavuot.

Tal Polon,

Antwerp
Antwerp
iStock

A man armed with three knives who pretended to be Jewish attempted to enter an Antwerp synagogue over the holiday of Shavuot before being apprehended.

According to the CKJGA “Shmira” Jewish patrol group of Antwerp, “A suspicious person with Iraqi roots tried to enter the Van De Nest synagogue on Monday morning walking next to his bike and carrying a bag. The suspect wore a kippa on his head and pretended to be Jewish.”

“The Shmira volunteers stopped him before entering to conduct a safety questioning. After the questioning, they requested police check him. He seemed to be carrying 2 small and 1 bigger knives. Police arrested the suspect on grounds of carrying a forbidden weapon and trying to get into the synagogue.”

CKJGA also made note of several other incidents over the course of Shavuot during which Antwerp Jews were threatened.

In one incident on Sunday evening, Shmira volunteers noticed a “Middle Eastern male” who “followed and threatened Jewish people on the street.”

“He was stopped by the volunteers patrolling the area and was later arrested by police,” the group related. “The suspect lives outside Antwerp and had no legit reason to be in the vicinity of our community.”

CKJGA pointed out that the same suspect had, several weeks ago during a Lag Ba’omer parade, “verbally assaulted” community members but was sent away after being questioned by Shmira volunteers and police.

In another incident on Monday evening, “Two Middle Eastern youngsters threatened Jewish kids at the Harmonie park with a cutter-knife” before intervening parents succeeded in preventing "an escalation" and police arrested the suspects.




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