Synagogue bombing attempt not terrorism, Ukraine says


KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — Ukrainian Jewish leaders say they will appeal a decision by the country’s Secret Service not to classify the attempt to blow up a synagogue as a terrorist act.

The Ukrainian Secret Service classified the attempt earlier this month to blow up the Lutzk synagogue and community center as a case of illegally manufacturing explosives.

“They jeer at us and try to hush up the fact that it was a real attempted terrorist act," Eduard Dolinsky, the director general of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and leader of Lutzk Progressive Jewish Congregation, told JTA. "We are going to appeal the decision and address a petition to the Office of the Public Prosecutor.”

A bottle filled with explosives and hooked up to a timing device was found in the basement of the building by a representative of the Lutzk Jewish community on Feb. 2.

Local police transferred the materials to the Ukrainian Secret Service, which decided the incident was not a terrorism and returned the case to the Lutzk Police Department on Feb. 13.

According to the Secret Service, the bottle of the working armed explosive device contained an explosive mixture of ammonium nitrate and powered aluminum, though a commission of experts agreed that the explosive was unusable because the explosive system could not detonate for technical reasons.

The local police department is investigating the case, but no arrests have been reported.

The Ukrainian Jewish Committee has said that law enforcement agencies, which are believed to still have many former KGB officers on staff, are playing down the danger of the attempted attack in a bid to hush up the case. On Feb. 4, the committee called on the Ukrainian government to investigate the case as an act of terrorism.

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