November 19, 2019

Germany shooting: Gunman kills two after attacking synagogue

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From BBC

GETTY IMAGES Image caption Witnesses say the gunman tried to target Yom Kippur observers using explosives and guns

wo people have been shot dead by a gunman in eastern after he attempted to enter a synagogue where dozens were observing a Jewish holiday.

The suspect live-streamed the attack on an online video-game platform before being arrested.

The video, which has now been removed, showed him making anti-Semitic comments to camera before driving to a synagogue in Halle and shooting into its door.

After failing to get in, the gunman shot dead two people nearby.

The suspect is a 27-year-old German who acted alone, according to local media.

“According to the federal prosecutor there are sufficient indications for a possible right-wing extremist motive,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.

Videos from the scene appear to show the suspect wearing military-type clothing and using several weapons in the attack.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has attended a memorial vigil for the victims at Berlin’s main synagogue.

How did the attack unfold?

The attack happened in the city of Halle at about 12:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Max Privorotzki, leader of the local Jewish community, said the attempted attack on the synagogue was captured on a surveillance camera.

Amateur video shows shooting in Halle, Germany
Image captionThe suspect was filmed wearing a helmet shooting into a local street

“We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily-armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.

“The man looked like he was from the special forces… But our doors held.”

Mr Privorotzki said about 70 or 80 people were inside at the time.

After apparently becoming frustrated at failing to get in, the suspect then allegedly shot into the street and killed a woman close to the synagogue, before killing a man in a local kebab shop.

A witness at the shop told German N-tv news that the gunman was wearing camouflage when he opened fire on the venue.

“The man came up to the doner shop, he threw something like a grenade, it didn’t explode, and he opened fire with an assault rifle. I hid in the toilet,” the witness said.

Two injured people with gun wounds have had surgery at the city’s university hospital, a spokesman told news agency.

Synagogue visitors react in a bus after surviving a shooting at a synagogue in Halle, Germany
Image captionThe dozens who were trapped in the synagogue were later evacuated on buses

What is known about the attacker?

Police say the suspect was arrested after fleeing the scene. He has not been officially named but local media suggest he is a 27-year-old German man.

Initial reports suggested other people may have been involved, but a local police lockdown has now been lifted.

Video-game platform Twitch has confirmed the suspect broadcast the attack on their online streaming website.

“We worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act,” a spokeswoman told Reuters.

The video the suspect posted showed him making misogynistic and anti-Semitic statements to the camera – including denying the Holocaust.

The attack came as Jews observed Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) talks to Rabbi Gesa Ederberg (L) and other members of the Jewish community at a vigil outside the New Synagogue in Berlin
Image captionMrs Merkel joined the Jewish community for a vigil in solidarity in Berlin

“That on the Day of Atonement a synagogue was shot at hits us in the heart,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas posted on Twitter. “We must all act against anti-Semitism in our country.”

Security was boosted at other German synagogues following news of the attack and vigils were held on Wednesday evening.

A minute’s silence was also held for the victims in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The EU’s President, Jean Claude Juncker, said in a statement that the EU stands “in solidarity” with the Jewish community.

“I am shocked by the brutal attacks in Halle – on this day, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the shooting as a “terror attack” and warned anti-Semitism was on the rise in Europe.

“I urge German authorities to continue to act resolutely against the phenomenon of anti-Semitism,” Mr Netanyahu tweeted.

Map of where shootings were reported in Halle

For more on this story go to; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49988482

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