(JTA) – Swedish police arrested two men in connection with an explosion that rocked a Jewish community building in Malmo.
The explosion took place early last Friday morning, according to Fred Kahn, board chairman of the Malmo Jewish community.
“There was an explosion and someone also threw a rock at the windows at the entrance to the community house,” he said.
The suspects, both 18, have no prior criminal record, according to the daily Skanska Dagbladet. Both denied any involvement in the explosion, according to Anders Lindell, a Malmo police officer and spokesman.
“Witness reports led us to arrest the two suspects near, but not immediately at the scene,” Lindell told JTA, adding that “The forensics report from the scene of the crime is finished but needs to be reviewed.”
Kahn told JTA, “We are shocked by this incident, which was definitely a deliberate attack. The community has upped its security arrangements, but we are continuing as usual. The Jewish kindergarten is going to stay open and all services will continue.”
Covering additional security costs will come at the expense of social and cultural activities, Kahn told Skanska Dagbladet. In 2010, an explosion outside Malmo’s only Orthodox synagogue shattered the buildings windows. Jews in the city of 300,000 say they are routinely harassed; Malmo has a large immigrant community from the Middle East.
Malmo Mayor Ilmar Reepalu, commenting on the attack, told Skanska Dagbladet, “It is disgusting and terrible when things like this happen.”
Hannah Rosenthal, the Obama administration’s outgoing special envoy for combating anti-Semitism, has accused Reepalu in the past of making “anti-Semitic statements.”
Reepalu has advised Jews who want to be safe in Malmo to reject Zionism. He also has said that the Jewish community had been “infiltrated” by anti-Muslim agents and has denied that Muslims perpetrated the attacks on Malmo Jews.
On a Sunday earlier this month, dozens of Jews from Denmark visited Malmo to express their solidarity with the city’s Jewish community.