Austrian teen arrested for alleged plan to attack Vienna synagogue

World News

(JR) — Austrian officials on Monday announced the arrest of a 16-year-old who had allegedly been planning to attack a synagogue in Vienna.

The teen, who has not been identified, was arrested on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. The suspect had reportedly said in online chats that he planned to obtain a weapon to carry out the attack. He did not specify which synagogue he intended to target.

The Austrian news agency APA reported that authorities had searched the teen’s home near Steyr in northern Austria and found videos containing instructions for making bombs, weapons and ammunition. They seized several “electronic data carriers,” according to APA.

Authorities in Austria have increased security for synagogues and other Jewish and Israeli institutions, the AP reported.

The foiled attack comes amid a global spike in antisemitism, particularly in Europe, since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Antisemitic incidents have surged over 800% in the Netherlands and over 300% in Germany since the war began, according to local watchdog groups.

Synagogues and other Jewish spaces around the world have increasingly been targeted by bomb threats, antisemitic or anti-Israel graffiti, and in a few cases, tangible violence. The targets have included various synagogues across the United States and in New York specifically — including Albany, where a man was arrested for firing shots outside a synagogue — a Buenos Aires Jewish center, a Jewish day school in Toronto and the Israeli embassy in Tokyo.

In November 2020, four people were killed and 22 were injured in a shooting near multiple synagogues in Vienna. None of the Jewish institutions were involved, but the leader of the Jewish Community in Vienna warned the city’s Jews to stay home.