Flaming propane tank. (illustrative) (shutterstock) shutterstock
Flaming propane tank


Amid threats on synagogues in New Jersey, a Jewish house of worship was targeted in an apparent arson attack earlier this week.

By United with Israel Staff

On Friday, police in Birmingham, Alabama announced that the FBI detained a “person of interest” related to an apparent arson attempt at Temple Beth-El Synagogue.

The arrest was made after “a propane gas tank wrapped in burning clothes” was discovered near the Jewish house of worship, reported Times of Israel.

The FBI detained the suspect for questioning. As of Sunday morning, he had been detained for an additional 48 hours over the arson attack.

Firefighters arrived on the scene in response to a call from the synagogue.

“Officers observed a propane tank and clothing which had been set on fire in the area; however, there was no damage to the synagogue,” said a statement released by the authorities.

Temple Beth-El released a statement to its members, explaining, “While we are all hurt, frightened, and angry that this happened, we will not be intimidated by these actions.”

Shabbat services were reportedly held as scheduled, with additional security assigned to protect worshipers’ safety.

A few hours after the propane tank was discovered, “a suspicious-looking backpack” was also found near the synagogue.

According to bomb squad technicians on the scene, the bag did not contain an explosive device.

Only one day prior to the incident in Alabama, New Jersey federal law enforcement issued a warning to local synagogues of “a general threat to Jewish institutions,” reported local media.

“Our Jewish community has always been targeted, and it makes you just want to wrap your arms around them and do what you can to protect them,” Fitzgerald said, according to the report.

“People don’t realize the amount of security we have every time we open our doors. Being Jewish in this society, unfortunately, we have to take all sorts of necessary precautions,” commented Larry Brook, editor of the Southern Jewish Life Magazine.

“In 1958, 54 sticks of dynamite were set outside [Temple Beth-El Synagogue] but did not detonate after the fuse burnt out,” reported Times of Israel, an incident “thought to be retaliation for Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement.”

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