Knife-wielding man arrested near London synagogue

A man armed with two knives was arrested near a synagogue in the London neighborhood of Hendon.

On Saturday morning, a knife-wielding man was arrested close to the Toras Chaim synagogue in Hendon, a London neighborhood that has a sizeable Jewish population. Unconfirmed reports from Jewish congregants suggest that the suspect attempted to enter the synagogue during morning services.

The Community Security Trust (CST), a Jewish security organization, said that the suspect, armed with two knives, was spotted close to the entrance of a synagogue before being arrested. CST contacted police, who arrested the man at a local laundromat nearby. Video footage on social media showed officers detaining the suspect, who was wearing only a pair of shorts, before escorting him to a police vehicle.

Police dismissed the suggestion that the incident was connected to anti-Semitism or terrorism. “Officers attended and the man was detained under the Mental Health Act before being taken to a north London hospital. There were no reported injuries. This is not being treated as terrorism-related,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said.

The suspect is reportedly a known criminal with no official ties to terror organizations. No injuries were reported during the incident.

It reportedly took 10-15 minutes for police to arrive at the scene, according to Jewish congregant Eli Younger. He wrote on Twitter: “They didn’t attend our synagogue at all. Well done to CST and local security members for containing him.”

“Great work CST team this morning while on patrol. Proud of committed staff and volunteers,” tweeted CST chief executive David Delew.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes have increased dramatically in Britain. The vast majority of incidents have taken place in the greater London area and in Manchester, where most of Britain’s Jews reside. According to British statistics, 813 anti-Jewish incidents were recorded against London’s Jewish community during 2016, a 65-percent increase compared to 2015.

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News