The AP report below notes that it’s not exactly clear what the target was when a masked man opened fire this morning in the German city of Halle. The shooter opened fire near a synagogue on the Yom Kippur holiday, but he was also apparently near a kebab shop. But a Washington Post report indicates that the shooter may have also tossed a grenade into the synagogue’s cemetery.
Anti-semitic attacks have been increasing throughout Europe in recent years including France and Germany. But across the old continent, civilians are almost entirely prevented from defending themselves and their families with the best tool for the job. Predators who have little problem obtaining firearms and no regard for the law operate in what they can be confident are gun-free zones.
By Jens Meyer and Geir Moulson, Associated Press
Several shots were fired Wednesday in the eastern German city of Halle, leaving two people dead as the suspected assailants fled, police said. The exact target of the attack was not clear, since it took place near both a synagogue and a kebab shop, local media and witnesses said.
Police said in a tweet that the suspects fled in a car, and soon after reported that one person had been arrested. They gave no information about the arrested person or reasons why they thought the attack could have been carried out by more than one person.
Officers were out in force across the city hunting down the suspects and urged residents to stay at home or indoors. The railway station in Halle, a city of 240,000, was closed down as a precaution.
Police gave no details about the target, or targets, of the attack.
Pictures from the scene showed a body lying in the street behind a police cordon. News agency dpa reported the body was lying opposite a synagogue, about 30 meters (yards) from the building. Wednesday is the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
A video clip broadcast by regional public broadcaster MDR showed a man in a helmet and an olive-colored top getting out of a car and firing four shots from behind the vehicle from a long-barreled gun. It wasn’t clear what he was shooting at.
— Michael Ziesmann (@M_Ziesmann) October 9, 2019
A man interviewed on n-tv television said he had been in a kebab shop when he saw a man with a helmet and a military jacket fire shots into the shop.
Police said shots were also fired in Landsberg, about 15 kilometers (nearly 10 miles) from Halle. It wasn’t clear whether that shooting was related to the shooting in Halle.
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.