Rumours of Afghan knifemen at synagogue denied by police

Rumours of Afghan knifemen at synagogue denied by police
Police attend a routine demonstration in Vienna. File photo: Paul Gillingwater
Rumours that two Afghan men had been arrested carrying knives outside a synagogue in Vienna were being denied by Austrian police on Saturday evening.

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva, the two men had been arrested after sitting on a bench outside a Vienna synagogue, armed with knives.

The paper reported that when a security guard approached the two men to ask what they were doing near the synagogue, they said they were Jews waiting for the rabbi and other members of the congregation. 

The guard notified the local police, who were stationed nearby.

The paper further reported that one of the suspects already known to the authorities.

Saturday evening is the beginning of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

According to police sources on Saturday evening, they were unaware of any official reports, and were in the process of confirming the situation. They denied that such an incident occurred when contacted on Sunday morning.

It is believed that the incident was nothing more than an Internet rumour, which was spread by the Israeli news source.

The Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Vienna (IKV) assured the members of its community on Saturday evening, “that there never was such an incident”, according to a report in the Wiener Zeitung.

Due to past threats, Vienna's synagogues and some embassies have an around-the-clock police presence, especially in the wake of the recent events in Berlin.

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