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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A two-day search for a man who attacked the Jewish community leader and threw rocks at a synagogue in the Austrian city of Graz has ended in an arrest of a Syrian refugee, the interior minister said Monday.
“Yesterday evening, the police in Graz were able to arrest the culprit … He is a 31-year-old Syrian citizen who has been living in Austria since 2013 and has refugee status,” Karl Nehammer said during a news conference.
The man was detained in possession of a chair leg and a bag full of rocks and has pleaded guilty to all charges, the minister added.
Investigators treat the attacks as Islamist-motivated. This has been corroborated by evidence retrieved from his apartment, Nehammer said. The Syrian also caused damage to a Catholic church and an LGBTQ community centre.
“He is a radically Islamised anti-Semite and, on top of that, a homophobe … who is hostile to and rejects the Austrian way of life,” the minister concluded.
Graz’s Jewish community leader Elie Rosen was charged on Saturday by a man wielding a wooden object resembling a baseball bat after confronting him for throwing rocks into the synagogue’s courtyard. Rosen was in his car and was not hurt. The same man is believed to have smashed windows in the city’s only synagogue.