Anti-Israel demonstration in Berlin
Anti-Israel demonstration in Berlin Reuters

German police detained an 18-year-old man over an attempted arson attack against a synagogue Tuesday which drew a shocked reaction from the country's Jewish community.

The building in the western city of Wuppertal was not damaged in the incident and no one was hurt, a police spokesman said.  

The suspect was arrested soon after the early-morning attack, in which incendiary devices were thrown at the building.

"He identified himself as Palestinian," a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said, adding that his identity could not immediately be verified.

Witnesses said they saw another two men hurling flaming bottles but they evaded police.

The head of Germany's 200,000-strong Jewish community, Dieter Graumann, said the news of the attempted firebombing "left us aghast".

"There had already been various threats against Jewish institutions that deserve the particular attention of the authorities," he told a local newspaper.

Jewish leaders and political officials have recently warned of a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic slogans and chants in Germany at pro-Palestinian rallies organised against Israel's military operation in Gaza.

Local Jewish leaders and German politicians have spoken out against the alarming rise in anti-Semitism in the country, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During one rally a Jewish man only narrowly escaped after being chased by a Muslim mob shouting to "slit the Jews' throats", while in Berlin a leading imam called on Muslims to "kill Zionist Jews."