German police apologize for ripping down Israeli flag

14th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Rolf Cebin, head of the police department in Duisburg, in western Germany, said, "the removal of the flags was -- in hindsight -- the wrong decision."

Berlin -- A German police chief issued a formal apology on Tuesday after his officers tore down two Israeli flags during a recent protest against Israel's incursion into Gaza.

Rolf Cebin, head of the police department in Duisburg, in western Germany, said, "the removal of the flags was -- in hindsight -- the wrong decision."

Officers entered the unoccupied apartment to remove the flags after demonstrators began pelting them.

The police said they were acting to defuse a situation that threatened to turn violent as over 10,000 people marched through the city in protest at Israel's actions in Gaza.

"Given what I know today, I would have solved the problem in a different way, in order to avoid an escalation," Cebin added.

The ripping-down of the flags sparked furious reaction from Jewish groups, one of which -- the Simon-Wiesenthal-Centre -- described the action as "cowardly" and "incomprehensible."

"Can anyone imagine police storming into a privately owned house to remove a Hamas flag?" the Central Council of Jews in Germany asked Monday.

In a separate incident in Berlin, a 35-year-old man who identified himself as  Palestinian attacked a guard outside a synagogue in Berlin with an iron bar.

The man wanted to register a protest against Israel's war in Gaza, a police statement said.

AFP/Expatica

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