Polish teenager suspected of attacking synagogue with Molotov cocktails arrested

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Polish police have arrested a 16-year-old male on suspicion of attacking a synagogue with Molotov cocktails and said they plan to ask prosecutors on Thursday to open an investigation.

The Nożyk Synagogue was attacked around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, sustaining some damage to its facade. Nobody was in the prayer hall at that time and there were no injuries.

Police in cooperation with the Internal Security Agency arrested the 16-year-old Polish male in Warsaw on Wednesday evening.

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“He was completely surprised, he didn’t want to talk, he didn’t reveal his motives,” police spokesperson Robert Szumiata was quoted as saying by the news agency PAP.

Israel's Ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski, speak to reporters at a news conference in front of the Nożyk Synagogue

Israel’s Ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski, speak to reporters at a news conference in front of the Nożyk Synagogue on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Warsaw, Poland. The synagogue was damaged in an attack with Molotov cocktails overnight. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Szumiata said police will send a request to the prosecutor’s office on Thursday to initiate an investigation. The teenager, who has no previous police record, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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He is to be investigated under a section of the penal code that states that “whoever causes an event that threatens the life or health of many people or large-scale property, in the form of a fire, shall be punished by up to 10 years in prison.”

The court will need to decide whether the 16-year-old will be held responsible for the act as an adult, the police spokesperson said, according to PAP.

Poland, which until the Holocaust was the home of Europe’s largest Jewish community, numbering some 3.3 million, now counts a few thousand Jewish inhabitants in its population.

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