Spotlight: Germany in shock as details emerge on anti-Semitic Halle attack

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-11 02:14:04|Editor: yan
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BERLIN, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Germany remained in a state of shock on Thursday as the police released further details about the deadly far-right terror attack in the east German city of Halle, which claimed two lives and left two injured.

The perpetrator, a 30-year-old German citizen identified by prosecutors as Stephan B., attempted to break into a synagogue on Wednesday afternoon with a self-made gun and grenades.

After not being able to enter the synagogue, the attacker killed two people, one in front of the synagogue and one at a kebab shop in Halle. About 80 worshippers were inside at the time of the attack.

The incident sounded alarm over the rising far-right extremism in Germany. Federal prosecutors immediately took over the investigation as the case was related to terrorism and extremism affecting Germany's internal security, according to German public broadcaster ARD.

The federal prosecutors have defined the incident as a terror act.


Clues disclosed by the police showed that the rampage was carefully planned.

The suspect took action on the day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for people of the Jewish faith, and had posted a manifesto on the internet before he took action. He was equipped with a camera and live-streamed his moves.

In the 30-plus minute video, the suspect said he was a Holocaust denier and made xenophobic and anti-feminist statements.

His video and text have since been deleted and the local police called on the public not to spread them.

The police on Thursday searched the suspect's residence in Benndorf, some 40 kilometers east of Halle, and a vehicle that the attacker used to escape.

Local media FOCUS online reported that the gun of the suspect jammed forcing him to cease shooting, and that explosives were also found in his car.

The German Federal Prosecutor's Office said in a statement that the suspect had an anti-Semitic motive and "was planning to kill people but ultimately he could not implement his plan."

The attack was "of special significance and a threat to the state," the statement said.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel conveyed her "deepest condolences" on Thursday, adding that she was "shocked and depressed" by the crime.

Merkel said the German state and society must do everything to stand up against "hate, violence and contempt for human life."

"There must be zero tolerance," Merkel said.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also condemned the attack as he visited Halle, saying it was a day of "shame and disgrace."

Steinmeier called on all Germans to show a "clear, firm attitude of solidarity with the Jewish people in our country."

"History reminds us and the present challenges us," he said.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, voiced his concerns, saying that the brutal attack deeply shocked all Jews in Germany and criticized the slow reaction of German police.

"It is scandalous that the police were not protecting the synagogue in Halle on a holiday like Yom Kippur," Schuster told Deutschlandfunk public radio on Thursday.


The Halle attack was not the only far-right-linked incident in Germany this year.

In July, a pro-migrant politician from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Walter Luebcke, was assassinated in the western city of Kassel, allegedly by a known neo-Nazi.

The murder sparked widespread public concern, and the Interior Ministry announced that it would dedicate hundreds of new security jobs to fighting far-right terrorism.

Official figures published by the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) showed that 1,799 cases of anti-Semitic crimes were registered in 2018, almost 20 percent more than in the previous year.

German terrorism expert Georg Mascolo said in an interview with ARD that the threat posed by far-right extremists in Germany is "huge" and as serious as Islamist terrorism elsewhere in the world.