(JTA) — German police found explosives and antisemitic, far-right literature at the home of a teenager they suspect of planning a terrorist attack at a school.
Federal officers took the 16-year-old suspect, who was not named in the German media, into custody on Thursday, the Tagesschau news site reported. He is suspected of planning to bomb a high school in Essen, a city about 250 miles west of Berlin.
Separately, German police are investigating a suspected arson at a Jewish cemetery near Cologne. Both incidents closely followed the release of a report indicating a 28% rise in antisemitic hate crimes in 2021.
In the incident in Cologne on Wednesday evening, an unidentified person poured a flammable substance on the wall around the Jewish cemetery of Bocklemünd, a western suburb of Cologne, Rundschau Online reported. Police are investigating whether the incident was an antisemitic hate crime, the report said.
The report published Tuesday by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community recorded 3,027 antisemitc incidents in 2021 — a 28% increase over the 2020 tally.
That increase occurred amid a drop in other forms of hate crimes, according to the report, titled “Politically-motivated Criminality in the Year 2021.”
In the same report, the ministry recorded a decrease in the number of other types of hate crimes, including anti-Muslim crimes (a decrease of 28% to 732 incidents); anti-Christian crimes (down 22% to 101 cases) and anti-foreigner hate crimes (down 10% to 4,735 cases).
Also on Thursday, the office of Berlin’s police commissioner declined to authorize a protest rally planned for today by pro-Palestinian activists seeking to commemorate what they call Nakba Day. Nakba in Arabic means catastrophe, and is used to describe the aftermath of the Arab defeat during Israel’s independence war of 1948.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left or were driven out of their homes in what is today Israel in that war.
The police said they blocked the gathering due to the likelihood of antisemitic speech and incitement at the event, based on previous rallies. The organizers are appealing the police’s decision with the court system, the Der Tagesspiegel newspaper reported Friday.