Shooting outside German synagogue leaves at least two dead

Footage from an amateur video showing the shooter firing at a car in the German city of Halle. One of the assailants was arrested, while two others remain at large.
Footage from an amateur video showing the shooter firing at a car in the German city of Halle. One of the assailants was arrested, while two others remain at large.PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN • At least two people were shot dead in the German city of Halle yesterday, police said, with media and witnesses reporting that a synagogue and a Turkish kebab restaurant were the targets.

"Early indications show that two people were killed in Halle. Several shots were fired," police said on Twitter, urging residents in the area to stay indoors.

Police had earlier said that the perpetrators had fled in a car, before saying later that one suspect had been caught. Another two are at large.

According to Bild daily, the shooting took place in front of a synagogue, and a hand grenade was also flung into a Jewish cemetery. Police could not be reached immediately for confirmation.

Jews around the world were yesterday marking Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar.

An eyewitness told news channel NTV that he was in a Turkish restaurant about 600m away from the synagogue when "a man wearing a helmet and military uniform" flung a hand grenade at the store.

"The grenade hit the door and exploded," he said.

"(The attacker) shot at least once in the shop, the man behind me must be dead. I hid in the toilet and locked the door."

Speaking to NTV, a police spokesman said the motive of the suspects was not clear.

 
 

Yesterday's shooting came three months after the shocking assassination-style murder of local pro-migrant politician Walter Luebcke in the western city of Kassel, allegedly by a known neo-Nazi.

Mr Luebcke's killing has deeply shaken Germany, raising questions about whether it has failed to take seriously a rising threat from right-wing extremists.

Interior Minister Horst See-hofer last month warned of the rising danger of the militant far right, calling it "as big a threat as radical Islamism".

Mr Seehofer said that police had uncovered 1,091 weapons, including firearms and explosives, during investigations into crimes linked to the far right last year, far more than in 2017.

Germany has also been on high alert following several militant attacks in recent years claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2019, with the headline 'Shooting outside German synagogue leaves at least two dead'. Print Edition | Subscribe