2 People Killed In Shooting In Eastern Germany In Attack Outside Synagogue

Oct 9, 2019
Originally published on October 9, 2019 1:59 pm

Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET

Two people were shot and killed in the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday. Police and witnesses say shots were fired in multiple locations, including outside a synagogue and near a Jewish cemetery.

The attack came as Jews observed Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Germany's Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, said that based on current information authorities must assume it was an anti-Semitic attack.

One suspect has been arrested. Authorities originally said they believe two or three people may have carried out the attack, but are now reportedly exploring the possibility of a single assailant.

Investigators have reportedly viewed video from a camera on the shooter's helmet that shows the assailant shooting passersby and making anti-Semitic comments, according to Spiegel. Video of the attack was livestreamed on Amazon's Twitch service, the company confirmed to CNBC. The video has since been removed, Twitch said.

Witnesses told local media outlets that a man fired shots and threw a grenade-like object at a kebab shop.

Max Privorozki, chairman of the Jewish community in Halle, told news magazine Der Spiegel that a gunman tried to invade a synagogue, firing shots and throwing Molotov cocktails — but that the building's security measures withstood the attack. About 70 to 80 people were in the synagogue at the time, he said.

Regional broadcaster MDR shared a bystander's cellphone video showing a person wearing a helmet firing shots from a rifle, though it's not clear what the person was shooting at. Shots also were reportedly fired 9 miles away, in the town of Landsberg.

Police asked for help in finding any images or video that might show the suspects, and to submit such images via a secure portal and not on social networks.

Two people were admitted to a hospital in Halle with gunshot wounds and successfully underwent operations, Spiegel reported.

Police protection was increased at synagogues in the eastern German cities of Leipzig and Dresden after the incident, German news service DPA reports. Federal police also reinforced security at train stations and airports in central Germany and on routes to Poland and the Czech Republic. Deutsche Bahn announced that Halle's main train station was closed.

German federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation of the case, according to Spiegel.

This is a developing story. Some facts reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.