16-Year-Old Among Four Detained in Suspected Attack on Jewish Synagogue

German police detained four people, including a 16-year-old boy, on Thursday in connection with a suspected plot to execute an Islamic extremist attack on a synagogue in the city of Hagen, authorities said, according to the Associated Press.

The attack would have taken place during Yom Kippur, two years after a deadly assault on a synagogue in Halle over the holiday.

The 16-year-old, a Syrian national living in Hagen, was detained by police Thursday morning. The remaining three, detained during a raid on an apartment, are under investigation by authorities to determine whether they had any connection with the alleged plan, the AP reported.

Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, said authorities obtained "very serious and concrete information" regarding a possible attack on the synagogue. The information received by officials provided the potential timing and suspect in "an Islamist-motivated threat situation," Reul said.

A worship service scheduled to take place at the synagogue was canceled Wednesday and police cordoned off the building, but sniffer dogs uncovered no dangerous objects in the area, the AP said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Germany Police Stand Guard
German police detained four people Thursday, including a 16-year-old boy, in connection with a suspected plan for an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Hagen. Above, police officers stand guard in front of a courthouse in Dresden on September 8. Jens Schlueter/AFP via Getty Images

Reul said searches were ongoing in Hagen but gave no details and took no questions. He didn't say where the tip came from.

News magazine Der Spiegel reported, without identifying sources, that the tip came from a foreign intelligence service. It said the teenager told someone in an online chat that he was planning an attack with explosives on a synagogue, and the probe led investigators to the 16-year-old, who lived with his father in Hagen.

Two years ago on Yom Kippur, a German right-wing extremist attacked the synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle. The attack is considered one of the worst anti-Semitic assaults in the country's postwar history.

The attacker repeatedly tried but failed to force his way into the synagogue with 52 worshippers inside. He then shot and killed a 40-year-old woman in the street outside and a 20-year-old man at a nearby kebab shop as an "appropriate target" with immigrant roots.

He posted an anti-Semitic screed before carrying out the October 9, 2019, attack and broadcast the shooting live on a popular gaming site.

German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht sharply condemned the foiled Hagen attack.

"It is intolerable that Jews are again exposed to such a horrible threat and that they cannot celebrate the start of their highest holiday, Yom Kippur, together," the minister said.

Commemoration of Germany Synagogue Attack
A man stands in front of wreaths at the synagogue in Halle, Germany, on October 10, 2020, on the first anniversary of the anti-Semitic attack on the synagogue. Ronny Hartmann/AFP via Getty Images