Police in European countries arrest suspects in terror plots tied to Israel-Hamas war

Several men detained for allegedly perpetrating or planning to perpetrate attacks while citing events in Gaza

Illustrative: Riot police monitor as pro Palestinian demonstrators 'in solidarity with Gaza' hold a rally in Duisburg, western Germany, on October 9, 202 (Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)
Illustrative: Riot police monitor as pro Palestinian demonstrators 'in solidarity with Gaza' hold a rally in Duisburg, western Germany, on October 9, 202 (Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

JTA — Police in at least three European countries have arrested people they said were threatening or planning terror attacks related to the Israel-Hamas war.

The arrests come amid a global spike in antisemitic incidents following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, in which 1,400 people were slaughtered, that has spurred an ongoing Israeli military response in Gaza. While police have offered widely ranging levels of detail about the threats they said they interrupted, they believe Israelis were possibly the intended targets of multiple plots.

In Duisburg, a German city of about 500,000 located near the Netherlands border, a man previously convicted of terrorism was arrested after police said he shared with an associate in Syria that he was planning an attack, possibly against a pro-Israel demonstration.

The man had previously trained with ISIS in Syria, according to local reports.

In the UK, The Telegraph newspaper reported that a man who arrived in the country in 2020 had been arrested after committing some kind of attack that he said he committed because children had been harmed in Gaza. But while police told the newspaper that they had made an arrest, they did not disclose any further information about the man or the nature of the attack.

Security analysts said they might be withholding information in an effort not to inspire copycats.

In Brussels, a Palestinian man was arrested after telling a federal refugee support agency that he was distressed by what was happening in Gaza and hoped to ​”die as a martyr by blowing himself up.”

The man had applied in September for asylum in Belgium but missed an appointment after learning that members of his family had been killed in Gaza, according to local news reports.

In addition, police in Italy arrested two men whom they had identified as recruiters for ISIS in Europe, saying that they had decided to intervene because the war had heightened the risk of Islamic extremists taking action. The arrests came a day after gunmen allegedly tied to ISIS killed two people at a soccer game in Belgium.

Concerns about Hamas-inspired attacks are on the rise around the world. A wave of mass pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel demonstrations since Oct. 7 have also caused anxiety for police and many Jews.

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