At least two people were shot dead on a street in the German city of Halle yesterday, police said, with witnesses saying that a synagogue was among the gunmen’s targets as Jews marked the holy day of Yom Kippur.
One suspect was captured but with a manhunt ongoing for other perpetrators, security has been tightened in synagogues in other eastern German cities while Halle itself was in lockdown. Reports said the attackers tried to enter the synagogue. Two people also suffered serious bullet wounds in the attack and were being operated on.
Anti-terrorist prosecutors confirmed that they were taking over the probe. Bild daily reported that the shooting took place in front of the synagogue, and a hand grenade was also flung into a Jewish cemetery.
Wednesday’s shootings came three months after the shocking murder of local pro-migrant politician Walter Luebcke in the western city of Kassel, allegedly by a known neo-Nazi. Luebcke’s killing has deeply shaken Germany, raising questions about whether it has failed to take seriously a rising threat from right-wing extremists.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer last month warned of the rising danger of the militant far right, calling it “as big a threat as radical Islamism”.