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Two men to appear in court over Gothenburg synagogue attack

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Two men to appear in court over Gothenburg synagogue attack
Police at the synagogue on Saturday night. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
16:54 CET+01:00
The prosecutor has asked to have two men remanded in custody over an attack on a synagogue in Gothenburg, but says there may be more than a dozen perpetrators.

Police held three suspects hours after Saturday's attack. Two of the men will appear at a remand hearing on Wednesday to face allegations of aggravated arson. The third has been released, but is still under suspicion.

"The investigation is moving forward. New things are emerging. There is a lot to do, but a lot will happen in the coming week," prosecutor Stina Lundqvist told news agency TT.

The three men – who deny the allegations – are aged 18, 20 and 21. Two of them are understood to be from Syria and one from Palestine and arrived in Sweden "in recent years", reports anti-racism magazine Expo.

"Our theory is that it has to do with the Palestine-Israel conflict, considering the target of the act and what we know about the suspects," Lundqvist told Swedish newspaper DN on Tuesday. 

"We can't say that with 100 percent certainty, but it's our idea about the motive."

She added that more people are suspected of having participated in the incident, which saw Molotov cocktails being thrown at the synagogue, but declined to say whether or not more arrests are in the pipeline.

"They were around 10-15 people and it is our impression that they have done this in concert. I don't want to say if we are about to hold anyone else, but there are clearly more perpetrators," Lundqvist told TT.

Police have stepped up protection of the synagogue and said they would remain as Jews in Gothenburg gather to mark the start of the Hanukkah holidays later on Tuesday night.

INTERVIEWS: Jewish and Muslim leaders react to 'unacceptable' attacks

Several other European countries have experienced anti-Semitic elements as a reaction to US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last week.

On Friday, protesters chanted anti-Semitic slogans at an unauthorized demonstration in Malmö, while on Saturday an Israeli flag was burned at a demonstration in Stockholm.

On Monday, a leader from Malmö's Jewish Community told The Local that recent events have created concern among Jewish people in Sweden.

"It does have an effect. People who have perhaps never felt a sense of being the subject of hatred or being threatened start to feel like that's the situation," Freddy Gellberg said.

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