Molotov cocktail thrown near London synagogue; terrorism not suspected

Police say man detained; no reports of injuries or damage outside Golders Green site

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of an incident in which a man appeared to through a Molotov cocktail near a London synagogue, February 2, 2021. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video of an incident in which a man appeared to through a Molotov cocktail near a London synagogue, February 2, 2021. (YouTube)

A man appeared to throw a Molotov cocktail near a London synagogue on Tuesday in an incident local Jewish community security sources stressed was neither terror-related nor an act of anti-Semitism.

Police and emergency services converged on the scene outside the Golders Green Beit Hamedrash, known more commonly as Munk’s Synagogue.

Police said a man was detained and there were no injuries to officers or members of the public. Some details of the incident remained unclear.

As the events were unfolding, local councilor Alex Prager tweeted, “Golders Green Road is closed due to a security incident. Police and fire brigade on site. Appears to have involved a Molotov cocktail next to a synagogue on The Riding.”

An eyewitness told the Jewish News, “There were lots of police of different varieties and a chopper going overheard. We have seen riot police and numerous unmarked cars. The police have said it is a ‘life and death situation’ but we have not heard more information.”

In video footage shared on social media, several police vehicles can be seen crowded into the cul-de-sac where the synagogue is located, in the heart of a major north London Jewish community.

A small fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters using a hose.

The Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism and provides security for the UK Jewish community, tweeted that the “incident in Golders Green this afternoon appears NOT terror related. We thank the emergency services for their constant vigilance and work.”

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement, “Police were called at 12.28 to The Riding #GoldersGreen #NW11 to a report of a concern for safety.”

“Officers attended and found a man with a vehicle,” the statement said. “The man is believed to have set fire to an object before being detained. No members of the public or officers are believed to have been injured. Enquiries are ongoing.”

“The man was arrested on suspicion of a number of offenses,” police said. “As a precaution, nearby roads have been closed.”

A spokesperson for Shomrim North West London, the local Jewish neighborhood watch group, told the Jewish News that “there was a large precautionary response from emergency services, which may still be on scene for some time while the area is made safe.”

The spokesperson said police confirmed that “although the incident took place with close proximity to a local shul, it is not believed to be terror/antisemitism related.”

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