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Denmark calls in army to defend Jewish sites

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Denmark calls in army to defend Jewish sites
A 2015 file photo shows a police officer standing guard outside the Krystalgade synagogue in Copenhagen following two fatal attacks in the Danish capital. Denmark has called in the army to protect Jewish and Israeli sites in response to increased anti-Semitism amid the Israel-Hamas war. Photo: AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN

Denmark will deploy army units to protect Jewish and Israeli sites in Copenhagen in response to an increase in anti-Semitism amid the war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, government officials said Sunday.

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"The conflict in the Middle East has led to an absolutely unacceptable increase in anti-Semitism and insecurity for Jews in Denmark," Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said.

"We're in a situation where the terrorist threat hanging over Denmark is serious."

The defence ministry said the Gaza conflict was taking a heavy toll on police resources, with several protests being held at a time when Koran burnings by anti-immigrant or anti-extremist groups have stoked tensions.

"In this context... armed forces will support the surveillance of Jewish and Israeli sites in Copenhagen," such as synagogues or the Israeli embassy, it said.

The deployment will begin December 6.

The country counts an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 Jews, according to the independent Utrikespolitiska research institute.

Contacted by AFP, the defence ministry declined to say if similar protective measures would be taken for Muslim sites in the country.

Last month, parliament began debating a bill to ban desecrations of the Koran and other religious symbols after a string of incidents sparked angry protests in Muslim countries.

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The government announced the plans for the ban on Koran burnings after warning they could pose a security risk.

The war in the Middle East broke out when Hamas militants burst through Gaza's militarised border into Israel on October 7 and killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, while also taking around 240 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

More than 15,500 people have since been killed in the besieged Palestinian territory, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, in more than eight weeks of combat and heavy bombardment.

 

 

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