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Police investigate 2 Molotov cocktail bombs thrown at German synagogue

(JTA) — Unknown perpetrators threw two Molotov cocktails at a Berlin synagogue early on Wednesday morning, leading German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to declare that “antisemitism has no place in Germany.”

“We will never accept when attacks are carried out against Jewish institutions,” Scholz said during a trip to Egypt tied to the escalating tensions of the Israel-Hamas war.

The firebombs landed on the sidewalk and caused no damage, the synagogue’s congregation reported on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

As officers were investigating the incident on the scene later Wednesday morning, a young man on an electric scooter wearing a Palestinian scarf raced through a police barricade toward the door of the community center and tried to pull something from his pocket. He was arrested after a struggle in which he reportedly shouted antisemitic and anti-Israel slogans.

“We are all shocked by this terrorist attack,” said Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in a press statement.

The Kahal Adass Jisroel community complex in Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood houses a synagogue, a kindergarten, a yeshiva school and a community center.

Parents brought their children to the kindergarten Wednesday morning despite the incident. A community member told Spiegel magazine that “we shouldn’t panic.”

Antisemitic incidents are on the rise across Europe in reaction to the Middle East conflict, and security for Jewish institutions has increased.

“The families around the synagogue are shocked and unsettled,” Schuster said in his press statement.

Some police officers were injured, authorities said Wednesday, after they clashed with Muslim immigrants at rallies overnight in multiple Berlin neighborhoods and at the city’s famed Brandenburg Gate.

“Security measures for Jewish institutions in Berlin have rightly been increased. And probably even worse things could have been prevented for the time being,” said Gideon Joffe, head of the Jewish Community of Berlin, in a statement. “But despite everything, Jews in our city no longer feel safe.”

The Jewish Community of Berlin announced Wednesday that Friedrich Merz, the head of Germany’s conservative Christian Democratic Party and a member of parliament, will visit the community’s Jewish high school on Friday to speak with some of its 500 students about their experiences with antisemitism and about Jewish life in Berlin. The school has both Jewish and non-Jewish pupils.

“The anti-Jewish violence on the streets of Berlin has reached a new dimension,” Joffe said in his statement, adding that “It is now up to civil society to show solidarity with the Jewish community.”

The Orthodox Kahal Adass Jisroel synagogue was opened in 2014 at the site of the former Beth Zion synagogue, which dated back to the mid-19th century. It is not part of the official Jewish Community of Berlin umbrella but is one of several independent congregations in the city today.

The post Police investigate 2 Molotov cocktail bombs thrown at German synagogue appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world.

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

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