German police break up crowd celebrating Hamas terror attacks on Israel

berlin hamas
Police arrest a Palestinian supporter after tensions flared during the Hamas celebrations - Michael Kuenne

German police broke up pro-Hamas celebrations in Berlin on Saturday night as the country’s anti-Semitism commissioner warned of attacks on Jewish sites.

Police made multiple arrests in the district of Neukoelln after officers tried to disperse around 40 people who were celebrating on the boulevard of Sonnenallee in the evening.

Officers reported chants of banned slogans such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

Sonnenallee is a hub for Berlin’s Palestinian community, one of the largest outside of the Middle East. Two police officers were injured in the clashes.

Demonstrations in solidarity with Israel were planned at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on Sunday, onto which was projected the flag of Israel on Saturday night.

Earlier on Saturday, the Palestinian NGO Samidoun handed out Middle Eastern baklava sweets to celebrate the attack, posting on social media “long live the resistance of the Palestinian people”.

Brandenburg gate
The Brandeberg Gate was lit up with the Israeli flag with a solidarity demonstration planned for Sunday - Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP

Samidoun, which is banned in Israel, is a front organisation for the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The scenes were condemned by Germany’s first-ever senior politician from a Muslim background. “Rejoicing over terror, murder, and desecration of corpses is humanly and socially unacceptable” wrote agriculture minister Cem Özdemir on Twitter, while criticizing Germany’s Islamic institutions for their “threatening silence … in the face of terror, murder and kidnapping”.

Felix Klein, Germany’s national anti-Semitism commissioner, condemned the celebrations as “a disgusting glorification of violence against Jews” while calling for increased security at Jewish sites. “If Israel is attacked by the anti-Semitic terrorist organization Hamas, the danger for Jews in Germany also increases,” he said.

Sonnenallee arrests
Officers lead another demonstrator away from Sonnenallee, a hub for Berlin’s Palestinian community - Michael Kuenne

In France, security at synagogues has already been increased, with the president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions telling the media: “We are vigilant, there is always the risk of the copycat attacks.”

The attacks in Israel on Saturday, which killed over 600 Israelis and wounded 1,200 more, are the most dramatic escalation in decades, with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring the country to be “at war”.

At least two German citizens have reportedly been taken to Gaza as hostages. Israeli strikes in Gaza have so far killed 300 Palestinians.

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