A bomb exploded at a Jewish community center in Malmo, Sweden early Friday morning, causing damage but no injuries. The door leading into the community center was shattered, as were several windows.
Several eye witnesses told police officers that they saw two vehicles speeding away from the scene immediately after the explosion before dawn Friday. One of the cars was located, and its two occupants taken into custody.
Swedish police are continuing to investigate the incident. The suspects, both 18 years old, have denied any wrongdoing.
The head of the Malmo Jewish community, Fred Kahn, told the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan that "I was shocked that this had happened now, that it was happening at all. There is always a constant threat against Jewish institutions, but we hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary now," he said.
"We have to increase our security, but we have no money for such things. We have no hidden stash. We have to use the money we get from membership fees, which could otherwise be used for social, cultural and other purposes," Kahn added.
According to local statistics, Malmo sees some 50 to 100 anti-Semitic incidents per year. Many of the perpetrators are first- and second-generation Muslim immigrants, who make up 30 to 40 percent of Malmo’s population of 300,000. Many of Malmo's Muslims are Palestinian.
In 2010, following Israel's 2009 offensive in Gaza, the number of anti-Semitic attacks in Malmo doubled from that of the previous year, with 79 recorded incidents. The bulk of the recorded complaints included harassments and threats, but there were also incidents of arson, Synagogue vandalism and violence.
Ilmar Reepalu, the mayor of Malmo, has repeatedly denied the existence of any sort of problem, telling the Sunday Telegraph that "there have not been any attacks on Jewish people."
In Jan. 2010, when asked to explain why Jewish religious services often require heavy security or police protection, Reepalu claimed that the violence toward Malmo’s Jewish community originated from right-wing extremists, not Muslims.
When confronted with the issue during an interview in 2010 with Skånska Dagbladet, Reepalu explained that "we accept neither Zionism nor anti-Semitism. They are extremes that put themselves above other groups."
Meanwhile, earlier this week, a prominent member of Germany's Jewish community was attacked as he was leaving Yom Kippur services at a Berlin synagogue.
According to the police, the victim, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan Kramer, was assaulted and threatened by an unnamed individual upon exiting the synagogue with his family. Kramer alleged that the attack was sparked by anti-Semitic motives. The police reported that the alleged aggressor, whose name has been withheld, had filed a counter complaint against Kramer.