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German officials express shock over attack on Jewish student

BERLIN

Germany’s justice minister on Monday called an attack on a Jewish student outside a synagogue “a horrible act of violence.”

“The hatred against Jews is a disgrace for our country,” Christine Lambrecht said in a statement. “We have to further confront agitation against Jews and be there more for the victims of hatred and violence.”

The 26-year-old man was about to enter the synagogue grounds in the northern city of Hamburg on Sunday when he was hit in the head with what appeared to be a folding spade, police said. He was taken to the hospital with head injuries.

The suspected perpetrator, a 29-year-old German man of Kazakh origin wearing military style clothes, was arrested after the attack.

The attack came nearly a year after a heavily armed white supremacist targeted a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. He killed a passer-by and a man at a nearby kebab stall after failing to force his way into the building.

Authorities said Sunday night that the Hamburg attacker seemed confused during a first interrogation by police.

A Hamburg rabbi said the community, which had come together Sunday to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, was “very, very shocked” by the assault.

“The question is: What have we not learned since Halle?” Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky said.

The assault comes amid heightened concern in Germany over rising anti-Semitism and far-right extremism.

“This is not an isolated case — this is repugnant anti-Semitism and we must all stand up against it,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted Sunday night.

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