According to several reports, at least two people are dead after multiple gunmen opened fire on a synagogue in Germany on Wednesday.
“One woman died after two attackers, believed to be wearing military-style uniforms, opened fire with a submachine gun in the city of Halle, eastern Germany, on Wednesday morning,” according to Daily Mail.
Daily Mail reported that a grenade was thrown into a nearby Jewish cemetery before the attackers fled the scene. The number wounded is unknown, but reports described “several” injuries.
The attack comes on Yom Kippur – Judaism’s holiest day.
“Police operation underway in Halle. Several people were killed,” Halle police reportedly tweeted at the time of the attack. “Attacker is on the run. Please remain in your homes or find a safe shelter.”
Police later said on Twitter that they had arrested one suspect, while warning the community to “stay alert” as the manhunt continues.
A Twitter user named Michael Ziesmann posted a video of what appears to be one of the suspects exiting a vehicle, and firing multiple rounds from what appears to be a shotgun:
“It is thought the attackers tried to flee in a taxi but were confronted by the driver and his wife, who were shot and have since been taken to hospital,” Daily Mail reported.
A witness reportedly described the incident to CNN:
One witness, Rene Friedrich, told CNN he was driving past the synagogue when he saw a man dressed in army clothing and a steel helmet. The man was holding what appeared to be a machine gun and throwing something over the synagogue wall. A person was lying on the ground beside him. Friedrich, a bakery owner, drove away slowly and called police. But soon after, he again drove past the man in the army gear — this time driving a gray Volkswagen Golf.
Enemies of Judaism have a history of attacking synagogues, as Robert Bowers did nearly a year ago at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where he killed 11 people in one of the deadliest attacks against Jewish people in American history.
Two months ago, hundreds of tires were slashed in an Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey. Within the same day, three Orthodox Jewish men were robbed in Brooklyn. Police investigated the incidents, but never arrested a culprit.
“Anti-Semitic hate crimes have been on the rise in America recently, as two prominent Muslim Congresswomen have stoked racial hatred against Jewish people. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) have both been engulfed in anti-Semitism scandals during their time as elected members of Congress,” we reported at the time.
Both white supremacists like Bowers, and radical Islamists alike, are known to target Jewish communities for attacks.
Yom Kippur is the Jewish day of atonement, “a chance to wipe one’s slates clean of the wrongs committed over the past year.” Services are held at synagogues throughout the world all day, and Jews typically fast in observance of the holiday.
This story is developing, and will be updated with additional information throughout the day.
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