Yom Kippur gunman kills two people in attack on German synagogue

Terrifying moment Yom Kippur gunman opens fire on German streets as two people are killed in gun and grenade attack at a synagogue and kebab shop – and cops arrest one suspect and hunt another

  • Gunmen wearing military fatigues opened fire outside synagogue in the German city of Halle on Wednesday 
  • At least two people, including one woman, were killed in the attack and several more were injured 
  • Police say they have arrested one man and urged people to ‘stay alert’ while the manhunt continues 
  • Shocking video shows one man dressed in black tactical gear and wearing a helmet firing on the street 
  • Attack happened on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which is traditionally spent fasting and praying 

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At least two people have been killed after gunmen attacked a synagogue in Germany on Yom Kippur – the holiest day in Judaism. 

One woman was shot dead in the road next to the synagogue after Jewish community leaders said the attackers tried to get inside where around 80 people were praying, but were stopped by ‘security measures’.

It is thought the gunmen then made their way to a nearby kebab shop where another man was killed. Video taken outside the shop shows a man dressed in military fatigues firing what appears to be a shotgun into the street. 

Witnesses said the attackers also used a submachine gun during the attack and threw a grenade into the Jewish cemetery, leaving several injured. 

Police have since arrested one suspect, but told residents to ‘stay alert’ while a manhunt continues. Gunshots were later reported in Landsberg, 10 miles from Halle, though it was not immediately clear if they were linked.  

A man and a woman were shot dead in an attack on a synagogue in Halle, central Germany, on Wednesday, while several others were injured. One of the gunmen is pictured outside a kebab shop close to the synagogue

A man and a woman were shot dead in an attack on a synagogue in Halle, central Germany, on Wednesday, while several others were injured. One of the gunmen is pictured outside a kebab shop close to the synagogue

Jewish leaders say the attackers tried to get into the synagogue in Halle during prayers for Yom Kippur, but were stopped by 'security measures'. A woman was then shot dead in the street outside before the attackers fled in a car, and then began shooting at a nearby kebab shop (pictured, a gunman in the street near the shop)

Jewish leaders say the attackers tried to get into the synagogue in Halle during prayers for Yom Kippur, but were stopped by ‘security measures’. A woman was then shot dead in the street outside before the attackers fled in a car, and then began shooting at a nearby kebab shop (pictured, a gunman in the street near the shop)

A body lies in the street outside the synagogue. Police say two people, including one woman, were killed in the attack

 A body lies in the street outside the synagogue. Police say two people, including one woman, were killed in the attack

Armed police swarmed to the scene after the attackers opened fire with a submachine gun before throwing a grenade into a Jewish cemetery, according to local media

Armed police swarmed to the scene after the attackers opened fire with a submachine gun before throwing a grenade into a Jewish cemetery, according to local media

A kebab shop which was said to have been targeted by one of the gunmen, as a witness said shots were fired inside

A kebab shop which was said to have been targeted by one of the gunmen, as a witness said shots were fired inside

An armed officer runs to his vehicle in Halle. Police say they have arrested one suspect and are looking for another

An armed officer runs to his vehicle in Halle. Police say they have arrested one suspect and are looking for another

Policemen climb over a wall close to the site of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany

Policemen climb over a wall close to the site of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany

Police officers with an amoured vehicle block a road in Halle, Germany, amid reports that some of the gunmen fled in a car

Police officers with an amoured vehicle block a road in Halle, Germany, amid reports that some of the gunmen fled in a car

A police robot examines evidence at the scene of a shooting in Halle, eastern Germany, outside a synagogue. There are reports that grenades were using during the attack

A police robot examines evidence at the scene of a shooting in Halle, eastern Germany, outside a synagogue. There are reports that grenades were using during the attack

Bild reports that at least two people have been taken to a nearby hospital with gunshot wounds, where one is undergoing surgery.

Footage shows the man climbing out of a car before sheltering behind the door as he fires up the street. 

Each shot ejects a plume of grey smoke as the gunman stops to reload before firing again. Spent casings can be seen dropping to the ground behind him.

Max Privorotzki, who heads the Jewish community in Halle, said the gunmen had attempted to enter the synagogue, but that security measures were able to ‘withstand the attack’. 

He added that between 70 and 80 people were in the synagogue at the time of the attack.

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. 

The attackers are then thought to have tried to flee on foot before one of them was arrested. 

Meanwhile in Landsberg, the mayor said that gunmen who attacked that town had hijacked a car.

There was also a large police presence reported in Wiesderdorf, a short distance from Landsberg.  

Konrad Rösler, a 28-year-old railway worker interviewed on German TV, said that he had been in a kebab shop when he saw a man with a helmet and military jacket launch the attack.

Rösler said the attacker threw a grenade at the shop, which bounced off the door frame, before he fired shots into the shop. He said he locked himself in the toilet and heard several more loud bangs before police arrived.

Speaking to NTV, a police spokesman said the motive of the suspect or suspects was not clear.

‘We don’t have any indication about the motive of this act.’ 

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, lamented what he called ‘terrible news from Halle’ but government officials said they had no information on the attack. 

Officers also reported that shots were fired in Landsberg, about 10 miles from Halle. It wasn’t clear whether that incident was related to the earlier shooting. 

An officer leads a bomb-sniffing dog across the street in Halle, following reports that grenades were thrown by gunmen who targeted a synagogue in the city

An officer leads a bomb-sniffing dog across the street in Halle, following reports that grenades were thrown by gunmen who targeted a synagogue in the city

A helicopter lands as police secure the area between Wiedersdorf and Landsberg near Halle, eastern Germany. Gunshots were also reported in those two towns, which sit near Halle

A helicopter lands as police secure the area between Wiedersdorf and Landsberg near Halle, eastern Germany. Gunshots were also reported in those two towns, which sit near Halle

Police officers walk on a road in Halle, Germany, as they secure the area following an attack outside a synagogue

Police officers walk on a road in Halle, Germany, as they secure the area following an attack outside a synagogue

Police guard a crime scene near a Synagogue after a shooting in Halle, Germany, which targeted Yom Kippur worshippers

Police guard a crime scene near a Synagogue after a shooting in Halle, Germany, which targeted Yom Kippur worshippers

Armed officers help a woman to cross the street, stepping around shell casings which have been circled with spray paint on the floor

Armed officers help a woman to cross the street, stepping around shell casings which have been circled with spray paint on the floor

Police block the area around the site of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany

Police block the area around the site of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany

Police say they have arrested one person in connection with the attack, but told resident to shelter in place while the manhunt continues (pictured, an ambulance at the scene

Police say they have arrested one person in connection with the attack, but told resident to shelter in place while the manhunt continues (pictured, an ambulance at the scene 

Police secure the area after a shooting in the eastern German city of Halle

Police secure the area after a shooting in the eastern German city of Halle

The attack happened in Halle on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which traditionally involves an intensive 25-hour period of fasting and prayer

The attack happened in Halle on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which traditionally involves an intensive 25-hour period of fasting and prayer 

The railway station in Halle, a city of 240,000, was closed down as a precaution amid the police operation. 

The shooting triggered a huge influx of police to the city, among them units of the SEK, the elite of the German anti terrorism police.

Armed police were also deployed around synagogues in Leipzig – where an emergency alert was briefly issued before being revoked – and in Dresen, around 90 miles away.

Yom Kippur – Judaism’s holiest day

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in Judaism which is marked with an intensive 25-hour period of fasting and prayer.

The holiday began Tuesday night and was due to end late Wednesday. The day typically involves five prayer sessions, with followers encouraged to repent for sins.

It is celebrated throughout the Jewish world, even by typically secular members of the faith. 

Security was also increased at Jewish sites in Berlin, though no specific threat had been identified. 

German anti-terror prosecutors said they were taking the lead in investigating the shooting, after Jewish leaders said their synagogue was targeted.

The investigation will be a murder probe. 

A spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office said the step had been taken given ‘the particular importance of the case’ which he said involved ‘violent acts that affect the domestic security of the Federal Republic of Germany’.

Wednesday’s shootings came three months after the shocking assassination-style 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.

Investigators have been probing the extent of suspect Stephan Ernst’s neo-Nazi ties and whether he had links to the far-right militant cell National Socialist Underground (NSU).

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’.

Seehofer said that police had uncovered 1,091 weapons including firearms and explosives during probes of crimes linked to the far right last year, far more than in 2017 when 676 were found.

At the same time, Germany has also been on high alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years claimed by the Islamic State group.  

A police robot near the scene of a shooting that has left two people dead in Halle, Germany

A police robot near the scene of a shooting that has left two people dead in Halle, Germany

Police forces walk along the wall to a Jewish cemetery near the scene of a shooting that has left two people dead in Halle

Police forces walk along the wall to a Jewish cemetery near the scene of a shooting that has left two people dead in Halle

Armed officers were also deployed outside a synagogue in Dresden, around 90 miles from Halle, as a precautionary measure following the attack amid fears of copy-cats

Armed officers were also deployed outside a synagogue in Dresden, around 90 miles from Halle, as a precautionary measure following the attack amid fears of copy-cats

Police officers secure a synagogue in Dresden, Germany, following a shooting 90 miles away in Halle

Police officers secure a synagogue in Dresden, Germany, following a shooting 90 miles away in Halle

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