Police in at least 3 European countries arrest suspects for allegedly planning terror attacks tied to Israel-Hamas war

World News

(JR) — 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’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel 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 England, 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 demonstrations since Oct. 7 have also caused anxiety for police and many Jews.

In some cases, local authorities have cracked down on the rallies, drawing criticism from free-speech advocates. In others, they have allowed the rallies to proceed, to the chagrin of pro-Israel advocates who say the rallies give voice to violent threats and antisemitic sentiments.

News also emerged this month about the indictment in August and September, before the Hamas attack, of four teenagers from France and Belgium who police said acted as a terror cell and were planning attacks on Jews, including at the Israeli embassy near Brussels.