Zurich police: No indication of criminal action near Jewish school

Zurich police said on Thursday a suspicious car near a Jewish school led to an intervention by officers but there was no indication of criminal action.

“A Jewish school on Schoentalstrasse informed us on Wednesday evening of the presence of a suspicious vehicle that passed the school several times. An unknown man also manifested suspicious behavior near the school on Wednesday afternoon,” police said in a statement on Thursday.

“So far, there is no indication of criminal action.” Police said the blocked street would likely be cleared within the next few hours. They said further security measures had been taken in agreement with the school.

A state of emergency has been declared at the school, according to Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten, and officers were standing outside with machine guns. Special forces were also called to the scene.

20 Minuten quoted a spokesman for the Zurich City Police as saying that a suspect was detained in front of the school on Wednesday afternoon. “The situation is now being closely monitored,” Marco Cortesi told 20 Minuten.

According to Rabbi Chaim Durckman, a Chabad emissary to Lucerne whose daughter attends a girls school in Zurich, there has been suspicious activity outside the school on Wednesday.

“Yesterday, one of the guards from the Jewish community’s security company noticed a suspicious car driving slowly by Zurich’s school for girls,” the rabbi said.

“Because our security company is stationed at several schools, the information was passed on, and several minutes later the car was spotted driving by the school for boys. This set off a red light when it turns out the car had a Belgian license plate and according to what I was told, the driver apparently photographed the school.”

Since the terror attacks in Paris in January 2015, Jewish communities in Europe have put private security guards outside the community’s synagogues and schools.