German Interior Minister: Yom Kippur Shooting was Anti-Semitic Attack

Police officers work at the site of a shooting in Halle, Germany, October 9, 2019. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

German officials called a live-streamed shooting at a synagogue Wednesday in the city of Halle an anti-Semitic attack after the gunman denied the Holocaust and denounced Jews on the stream before embarking. 

Two people have been killed and another two are seriously injured, according to Reuters, and a suspect is in custody. The gunman attempted to force his way into the synagogue, but was unsuccessful after finding the gates shut. The man then went on a shooting spree, killing a woman outside and a man in a nearby kabob shop.

Max Privorozki, Halle’s Jewish community chairman, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper that approximately 75 people were in the synagogue observing Yom Kippur, known as the Day of Atonement which is the holiest day of the Jewish year and is marked by fasting and solemn prayer.

“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 said. “We barricaded the doors from inside and waited for the police.”

The attack was streamed on Twitch, an online streaming service popular with gamers and a subsidiary of Amazon’s. An Amazon spokeswoman said that the platform “worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”

In the aftermath of the attack, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited a Berlin synagogue where a vigil was being held outside. Merkel’s spokesman tweeted: “We must oppose any form of anti-Semitism.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted condolences to families of the victims  and called on Germany to fight anti-Semitism.

“The terrorist attack against the community in Halle in Germany on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of our nation, is yet another expression that anti-Semitism is growing in Europe,” he said.

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