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December 16, 2018 8:25 pm

Police Detain Suspect After Man Wearing Keffiyeh Photographed Waving Machete Outside Los Angeles Synagogue

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The disturbing image taken outside a Los Angeles synagogue. Photo: Facebook.

A suspect was arrested by North Hollywood police on Saturday after a man in a keffiyeh was photographed waving a machete in front of a sign outside a synagogue in the Los Angeles district on Friday.

The police are now seeking a warrant to search the man’s residence for any further information, a source within the community, who did not wish to be named due to the nature of the threat, told The Algemeiner. In the meantime, the suspect will remain in custody for 72 hours.

Images of the incident, which took place outside the Chabad of North Hollywood center, were circulated widely on social media over the weekend, leading to widespread concern.

“Obviously the image is very disturbing,” Rabbi Nachman Abend, the congregation’s spiritual leader, told KCAL 9. “A man with a sword standing in front of a synagogue with his face wrapped the way it was, is very concerning.”

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The eerie photos, reminiscent of Islamic State propaganda videos, were captured by a local resident who caught sight of the man while on his way home from work at about 2:50 pm on Friday afternoon. The police arrived at the scene about 15 minutes later, the community source, who also witnessed the incident, told The Algemeiner, and used surveillance footage from the Chabad center to identify a vehicle used by the suspect and track him down.

“It looked like he was trying to make a public display, ‘let’s come after the Jewish people,’ very openly stating his hatred towards the Jews,” the witness said. “I was in total shock.”

The community member had words of praise for the local police force for their prompt response to the incident. “The community and everyone was so happy that the police reacted so quickly and the community reacted so quickly,” he said.

In response to news of the arrest, Rabbi Abend told KCAL 9, “Whenever these things happen it’s a wake up call for everybody and it puts everybody on edge to a certain extent. But we don’t live in fear and we have to continue moving on.”

Another rabbi at the congregation told the local channel that despite news of the arrest, people were still on edge.

Last month, a man was arrested for assaulting Orthodox Jewish women in the Los Angeles area. The suspect was believed to be behind a string of incidents in the North Hollywood-Valley Glen vicinity in which Orthodox Jewish women had their wigs ripped from their heads in public.

Also last month, a sign placed by a Jewish realtor at the site of one of her listings in the area was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti.

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