Illustrative: An Israeli flag is burned by Moroccans during a demonstration against the US Middle East peace plan in the capital Rabat on February 9, 2020. (Fadel Senna/AFP/ THE TIMES OF ISRAEL/ THE EDITOR)

GERMANY – Germany’s Jewish community on Wednesday called for protection to be ramped up after Israeli flags were burnt in front of synagogues amid escalating violence between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL said police arrested 16 people in two separate incidents at synagogues in the cities of Bonn and Muenster, where Israeli flags were set on fire late Tuesday.

Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, blamed the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror organization for the escalating conflict in Israel and said tensions were spilling over.

“Israel and Jews as a whole are subjected to hatred and incitement, particularly on social media. The threat to the Jewish community is growing,” he said.

Pointing to the flag-burning incidents, he said “the protection of Jewish institutions must be raised.”

“We expect from the people in Germany solidarity with Israel and the Jewish community,” added Schuster.

In Muenster, police arrested 13 people after witnesses reported “a group of about 15 with Arabic appearance” shouting and burning an Israeli flag in front of the synagogue. Police in Bonn arrested three suspects in their 20s in connection with the burning of an Israeli flag outside a synagogue. A window in the door of the synagogue had been shattered.

Bishop Batzing, chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, called the incident an “unjustifiable act of pure antisemitism.”

The incident in Spain happened in Ceuta, an enclave of that kingdom in North Africa. In addition to spray-painting “Free Palestine,” the perpetrators write AUAH, which stands for “Allah hu akbar,” “Allah is the greatest” in Arabic.

In London, thousands protested against Israel on Tuesday in a rally that turned violent when some demonstrators tried to lunge at a smaller gathering of pro-Israel protesters who had gathered there with the Israeli flag. Police separated the groups and extracted the pro-Israel demonstrators amid chants of “shame on you” and “f***ing Jews” by some of the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations have fired over 1,000 rockets at Israel since the outbreak of fighting on Monday evening, killing at least six people. The Israel Defense Forces has responded with hundreds of airstrikes aimed at Hamas personnel, weaponry and infrastructure throughout Gaza.

According to the Strip’s Hamas-run health ministry, 53 Palestinians have died since Monday night, including 14 minors, and 320 have been wounded. The IDF said more than half of those killed were members of terror groups involved in the fighting and that some, including several of the children, were killed by errant rockets fired from Gaza that fell short of the border and landed inside the Strip, not by Israeli strikes.

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