Suspect Arrested in Antisemitic Attack Outside Washington, DC Synagogue

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Kesher Israel, located on the northwest corner of 28th and N Streets, N.W., in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2009. (AgnosticPreachersKid via Creative Commons via JTA.org)

Police in Washington, D.C., have arrested a man in connection with an antisemitic attack outside a synagogue Sunday morning in the district’s Georgetown neighborhood.

A statement from law enforcement says that Brent Wood, 33, is suspected of having sprayed an unknown substance on two people outside Kesher Israel Congregation, a prominent Modern Orthodox synagogue also known as The Georgetown Synagogue, “while shouting an anti-Semitic phrase.” The phrase, according to local news reports, was, “Gas the Jews.”

The attack came the same weekend as a new spate of bomb threats targeted hundreds of synagogues across the United States, heightening worries for American Jews as the Israel-Hamas war continues to stoke antisemitism globally. In recent weeks there were shots fired at a synagogue and preschool in Albany, New York, and false bomb threats made at synagogues in Orange County, California, among other incidents.

Wood has been charged with simple assault and resisting arrest, and police said they are “investigating this offense as being motivated by hate or bias.” The suspect’s last known address was in Toledo, Ohio, police said.

The victims themselves were not injured, and it is unknown if they were congregants. Kesher Israel’s rabbi and president did not immediately return Jewish Telegraphic Agency requests for comment.

“There is simply no excuse for these antisemitic acts. None of this is normal and no one should think this is okay,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement to local news outlets condemning the attack.

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