2 Killed in German Synagogue Shooting on Jewish Day of Atonement

Police officers work at the site of a shooting, in which two people were killed, in Halle, Germany Oct., 9, 2019. (Reuters)

A gunman killed two people today when he opened fire in a German synagogue on Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day.

CBS News reports that the attacker shot at the door of the synagogue in Halle and tried to get in. Thankfully, he was not able to enter the building and gain open access to the 70 to 80 people inside. He also shot at a nearby kebab shop, witnesses said.

The shooting was anti-Semitic, says German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, and federal authorities believe the attacker to be a right-wing extremist. ABC News reports that police arrested a suspect three and a half hours after the noon shooting.

"We have at least two crime scenes," local policeman Ralf Karlstedt told national broadcaster RTL. "One person died as the result of a shooting in the area Ludwig-Wucherer-Strasse, another one in the area of the Humboldstrasse. We first received information that there is one suspect, who was armed. There have since also been suggestions that there potentially there have been more people involved, but that at this point is not confirmed. We currently know of at least one suspect."

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A video of the shooting was livestreamed on Twitch, a spokesman for the company confirmed. Twitch is commonly used to stream video of video games, reports CNN. The gunman appears to be the one who filmed the video with a camera attached to his helmet.

In the video, the suspected gunman launched into an anti-Semitic rant. CNN reports he said the Holocaust never happened and claimed Jews were the root of some of the world's issues.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center from Jerusalem (after Yom Kippur) responded to the attack, urging Germany to "move beyond words":

"An apparent neo-Nazi/far-right extremist was thwarted in an attempt to mass murder Jews at a German synagogue and still murders two others. On Friday night in Berlin a knife-wielding Muslim was stopped from attacking a Berlin Synagogue. That suspect has been released. Germany must move beyond words and hold accountable Jew-haters or the community won't survive."

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem also condemned in the strongest terms today's cruel terror attack:

"We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in Germany and worldwide in the face of this depraved assault on a sacred place on this most sacred of days for our Jewish friends," said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. "It is past time for European and other world leaders to truly confront the rising tide of antisemitism in our midst. We also offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims in today's violent hate crime."

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