At least two people, one male and one female, were killed in an attack outside a synagogue in the German town of Halle on Wednesday, Yom Kippur, at 11:20 AM, local police reported. Police and Jewish community leaders confirmed that the killings happened near a synagogue in the Paulusviertel district of Halle, in eastern Germany. Shots were also reported in the nearby town of Landsberg.
According to Die Welt, the perpetrators tried to invade the synagogue, where 80 to 100 congregants were gathered to celebrate Yom Kippur. The perpetrators hammered at the synagogue doors but could not penetrate them. They then opened fire with automatic weapons on the door and on a window, but the security measures inside the synagogue frustrated their attacks, otherwise, according to Die Welt, there would probably have been a bloodbath.
The perpetrators then opened fire on passers-by on the street. They also shot at a kebab shop nearby. Subsequently, one culprit got into a small car and disappeared. One person was arrested in the meantime, according to police.
Max Privorotzki, head of Halle Jewish Community, told the media that the synagogue was “fully occupied” at the time of the shooting, for the Yom Kippur prayers. He reported that “a heavily armed attacker with a helmet and rifle tried to shoot at our doors.”
Igor Matviyets, member of Halle’s Jewish community, told Deutsche Welle: “As it is everywhere else, there were anti-Semitic incidents in Halle, not as many as in bigger cities like Berlin, but things happened here, too — never life-threatening, but graffiti, shouting, some anti-Semitic demonstrations, since there is a far-right scene in Halle, of course. “I am shocked and don’t know how I will feel in this city in the coming days and weeks.”
Rainer Haseloff, the conservative state premier of Saxony-Anhalt, where Halle is located, issued a statement saying: “I am appalled by this detestable act. Not only have people been torn out of our midst, it is also a cowardly attack on peaceful coexistence in our country. My sympathy goes to the families of the victims.”