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German police search homes of 17 people accused of posting anti-Semitic hate speech on social media

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities on Tuesday searched the homes of 17 people in the state of Bavaria accused of…

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities searched the homes of 17 people in the state of Bavaria on Tuesday accused of spreading anti-Semitic hate speech and threats against Jews online.

According to Bavarian criminal police, the suspects were 15 men and two women, aged between 18 and 62, German news agency dpa reported. Police questioned the suspects and confiscated evidence from their homes, including cell phones and laptops, the agency said.

The suspects allegedly celebrated attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel on October 7 and were accused of spreading hate speech against Jewish people on social media, using symbols of banned terrorist organizations, dpa reported .

The police operation focused on Munich, the capital of Bavaria, where nine of the accused lived. Further research was carried out in the Bavarian towns of Fuessen and Kaufbeuren as well as in the counties of Passau, Fuerstenfeldbruck, Berchtesgadener Land, Coburg, Aschaffenburg and Hassberge.

A suspect allegedly sent a sticker during a WhatsApp conversation in a school classroom showing a clown with the words “Gas the Jews.” Another person allegedly posted on his account that “Jewish sons” deserved nothing more than to be “exterminated,” dpa reported.

Another suspect is accused of posting a photo of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler shortly after the October 7 attacks with the caption “I could kill all the Jews, but I left some alive to show you why I did them You are “. Next to it, he displayed a Palestinian flag, the caption “Free Palestine” and an emoji with a victory sign.

“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism has an impact on the daily lives of many Jews in Germany,” Michael Weinzierl, Bavarian police commissioner against hate crimes, told dpa, “the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel also has a impact on their lives in Germany.

Weinzierl said it was important to show Jews and Israelis living in the state “that we support them here in Bavaria, that we protect them here and that we also protect them from hostility.”

Last month, Germany’s chancellor and president strongly denounced the rise of anti-Semitism in the country following the war between Israel and Hamas.

Germany has strict rules against hate speech. Raids linked to the publication of banned symbols such as swastikas and other Nazi symbols are not uncommon. Denial of the Holocaust, in which the Nazis and their acolytes murdered 6 million European Jews, is also prohibited.

The war between Israel and Hamas erupted after the militant group’s surprise attacks on Israel killed around 1,200 people. Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza have so far killed more than 12,700 people, according to Palestinian health authorities.

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