Jews Holiest Day: Terrorists Kill 2 Near Synagogue in Germany, Massacre Prevented

A man wearing an Israeli flag lays flowers outside the synagogue in Halle, Germany October 10, 2019, after two people were killed in a shooting. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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On the day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism Two people were killed in shooting attacks near a synagogue and a kebab shop in eastern Germany in last days.

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MDR, German public broadcaster, showed video of a man in a helmet and an olive-colored top getting out of a car and firing shots from behind a car.

The two men in military gear tried to enter the synagogue with between 70 and 80 people inside but were thwarted by security, authorities say. 

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“Suddenly this man wearing a helmet and military clothes, holding a gun and wearing a mask, wanted to throw what looked like a hand grenade or an explosive; but it bounced off the door frame and exploded right in front of this elderly woman with a very loud bang. And then he raised the gun and started shooting,” an eyewitness said.

A suspect also threw a bomb into a nearby Jewish cemetery. One shooting took place in front of the synagogue. 

A woman died on a street close to the synagogue; and a man was killed in a Turkish kebab shop.

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One person was detained; but police believe at least one other may have fled the area in a vehicle. There was also gunfire reported in a nearby city.

Violent attacks against Jews last year almost doubled in Germany. 

Since the Nazi regime for the first time, Jewish leaders are warning that it’s too dangerous to wear the Kippah or Jewish cap in some areas.   

Jews in Germany face a deadly threat from both neo-Nazis and religious extremists. Muslims in Germany now outnumber Jews 50 to one.

One German-Jewish leader said the threat to Jews is far worse than the government will admit. “They are playing it down. They’re lying. They have no other word. They are lying about it.”

German Jew Olig Butkuvesly said, “Me, myself, I wouldn’t wear a Kippah. Unfortunately, it’s not safe.

Maybe I hope that it will be safe in the future or maybe it was safe in the past, but right now in 2019, it’s not safe at all.”

Federal prosecutors, who handle cases involving suspected terrorism or national security, have taken over the investigation. 

Police gave no information about the suspect in custody or why police think the attack may have been carried out by multiple assailants.

“On Friday night in Berlin, a knife-wielding religious extremist 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.”

“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,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center from Jerusalem (after Yom Kippur) said in a statement.