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Jewish student 'seriously injured' outside Hamburg synagogue in 'anti-Semitic motivated attack'

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The 26-year-old victim was attacked as he was about to enter the synagogue in northern Germany.
The 26-year-old victim was attacked as he was about to enter the synagogue in northern Germany.   -   Copyright  JONAS WALZBERG/AFP
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Germany has launched an "attempted murder" investigation after a Jewish student was "seriously injured" outside a synagogue in Hamburg, northern Germany.

The 26-year-old victim was attacked with "a folding spade" as he was about to attend a religious festival on Sunday afternoon, according to an initial statement by Hamburg police.

The man suffered head injuries and was given first aid by passers-by before he was transported to hospital by emergency services.

Authorities are not treating the assault as "attempted murder ... with dangerous bodily harm with an allegedly anti-Semitic background".

A 29-year-old man has been arrested by authorities. Police say the suspect wore military-style clothing similar to that of the German army.

A note with a swastika was found in his trouser pocket of the suspect, and the alleged assailant gave the impression of being "extremely confused".

A search warrant was carried out at a flat in Hamburg-Langenhorn, where the accused has been residing "unannounced". Data carriers were seized and are being analysed.

"On the basis of the current assessment of the overall circumstances, it can be assumed that the crime was an anti-Semitic motivated attack," police said in a further statement.

The Central Office for State Security of the Attorney General's Office has now taken over the investigation "because of a possible extremist background".

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, denounced the assault as "repugnant antisemitism" which "we must all oppose".

Meanwhile, Germany's justice minister has called an attack "a terrible act of violence.''

"Hatred against Jews is a disgrace for our country,'' Christine Lambrecht said in a statement.

"We must do everything we can to protect Jewish life. We must oppose hatred even more resolutely and be there for those affected by hatred and violence.

"I wish the victim of this disgusting attack a speedy and complete recovery, much strength, and the solidarity of us all."

The assault comes nearly one year after two people were killed by a near a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle on Yom Kippur.

The shootings in October 2019 were described by authorities as an "anti-Semitic attack".

Security has since been increased at Jewish institutions across Germany, amid heightened concerns over anti-Semitism and far-right extremism.

"I am saddened to learn that once again, this time on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a German Jewish community is confronting a violent, antisemitic act of terror," World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement.

“The German government must take responsibility in strengthening education so that the next generation understands that hatred of any kind is never permissible."

"Our young people must not learn from those who hate."