'Hamas operatives' arrested across Europe as plot against Jewish institutions foiled

14 December 2023, 23:15

Denmark and Germany have announced the arrests of several terror suspects, including alleged Hamas members.
Denmark and Germany have announced the arrests of several terror suspects, including alleged Hamas members. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Several alleged members of Hamas have been arrested in Europe after being accused of preparing an attack against Jewish targets.

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German police said three suspected members of Hamas were arrested in Berlin while a fourth person was detained in the Netherlands on suspicion of plotting to carry out "an act of terror".

They were said to have begun preparing a weapons cache in Berlin, where arms would be "kept in a state of readiness in view of potential terrorist attacks against Jewish institutions in Europe", prosecutors said in a statement.

"Following the terrible attacks by Hamas on the Israeli population, attacks on Jews in Jewish institutions have also increased in our country in recent weeks," said German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann.

"We must therefore do everything we can to ensure that Jews in our country do not have to fear for their safety again," he said.

It comes after Danish police also said they had prevented a terror attack, arresting three more suspects.

Read more: 'Israel will not accept a two-state solution when the war against Hamas ends', ambassador to the UK furiously declares

Read more: Bodies of two Israeli hostages taken in October 7 Hamas onslaught recovered from Gaza

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: Alamy

Flemming Drejer, the operative head of Denmark's Security and Intelligence Service, said police had "a special focus" on Jewish institutions.

"Persons abroad have been charged... It is a serious situation," Mr Drejer said, adding that the arrests were carried out in "collaboration with our foreign partners" and that those arrested were part of "a network".

The suspects will face a custody hearing within 24 hours, he said, probably behind "double closed doors".

"This is extremely serious," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday.

"It is of course completely unacceptable in relation to Israel and Gaza, that there is someone who takes a conflict somewhere else in the world into Danish society," she added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Danish security forces had "thwarted an attack, the goal of which was to kill innocent civilians on European soil".

He said: "The Hamas terrorist organisation has been working relentlessly and exhaustively to expand its lethal operations to Europe, and thereby constitute a threat to the domestic security of these countries."

Mossad and Shin Bet, Israel’s leading intelligence agencies, congratulated their Danish partners on arresting “seven terrorists acting on behalf of Hamas”, implying they had received Israeli assistance.

“The Hamas terrorist organisation has been working relentlessly and exhaustively to expand its lethal operations to Europe and thereby constitutes a threat to the domestic security of these countries,” they said.

“The Mossad and the ISA (Shin Bet) will continue to combine forces and capabilities with their partners in the country and around the world in order to thwart Hamas’s intentions and eliminate its capabilities.”

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