Unmarked grave
Unmarked grave iStock

Two men, aged 27 and 38, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of "gross vandalism" of gravestones in the Jewish section of a churchyard in northwestern Denmark, The Associated Press reports.

Danish broadcaster DR, citing information from a detention hearing that was briefly open before continuing behind closed doors, reported that the 38-year-old man was a member of a neo-Nazi group.

The men are suspected of scrawling in green paint on 84 gravestones and knocking over several of them in Randers, located some 177 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Copenhagen.

Police spokesman Klaus Arboe Rasmussen said their motive was to target "a particular group of the population based on their religion."

The men, who were not identified in line with Danish practice, also are suspected of throwing black and green paint on a bank building in Randers, said Arboe Rasmussen.

He said both incidents happened in the night between Friday and Saturday. Police want the men held in custody while they investigate the case, according to AP.

The Randers burial ground dates back to the early 19th century when the town's 200-strong Jewish community was Denmark's largest outside the capital Copenhagen, which is today home to most of the country's 6,000 Jews.

On the same day that the vandalism at the cemetery was reported, stickers shaped like yellow stars that Nazis made Jews wear during the Holocaust were placed on multiple Jewish sites in Denmark, as well as Sweden.

In Denmark, the stickers were found on the mailbox of Ella and Henrik Chievitz, a Jewish couple from Silkeborg, a town located 150 miles west of Copenhagen, and on the home of another Jewish family in the Copenhagen area.

The Jewish community in Denmark was targeted in 2015, when Omar El-Hussein, a Danish citizen of Palestinian origin who swore allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) group, opened fire outside the main synagogue in Copenhagen, killing an Israeli security guard and wounding two police officers.