(HALLE, Germany) — A heavily armed assailant tried to force his way into a synagogue Wednesday in eastern Germany on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day, and two people were killed as he fired shots outside the building and into a kebab shop, authorities and witnesses said.
The attacker shot at the door of the synagogue in the city of Halle but did not get in as 70 to 80 people inside were observing the holy day, a local Jewish leader said.
Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, said authorities must assume that it was an anti-Semitic attack, and said prosecutors believe there may be a right-wing extremist motive to it. He said several people were injured.
Police said in a tweet early Wednesday afternoon that “the suspected perpetrators” had fled in a car after the attacks and quickly reported that one person had been arrested. Officers spread out in force across Halle, a city of 240,000, urging residents to stay at home.
Several hours later, police said there was no longer an “acute” danger to the city and residents could go back into the streets. They gave no details about the person who had been arrested.
Police also didn’t specify why their assessment had changed, but the news agency dpa and the Bild newspaper cited unidentified security sources as saying the evidence points to a lone assailant.
News magazine Der Spiegel, which didn’t cite its sources, said the suspect is a 27-year-old man from Saxony-Anhalt state, where Halle is located.
It also said investigators have a video that the assailant apparently filmed with a camera on his helmet. Rita Katz, the head of the SITE Intelligence Group, wrote on Twitter that 35 minutes of footage of the attacks were posted on a video game site, and that the attacker said in English before the shooting that the “root of all problems are the Jews.”
She said it showed the attacker shooting a woman in the street after failing to enter the synagogue, then entering a business and killing another person before fleeing.
The filming of Wednesday’s attack echoed another horrific shooting halfway around the world, when a far-right white supremacist in March killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and livestreamed much of the attack on Facebook. That massacre drew strong criticism of social media giants for not immediately finding and blocking such a violent video.
Federal prosecutors, who in Germany handle cases involving suspected …read more
Source:: Time – World