German police begin investigations after synagogue attack


German Police was on Thursday pursuing murder and attempted murder investigations after an attack, targeting a synagogue in the city of Halle, left two people dead.

Police searched a residence in Benndorf to the east of Halle and towed away a car in nearby Landsdorf, as investigations got underway following the attack on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors, who have taken over the case, said evidence had been secured at the residence.

It is reported to be the home of the alleged perpetrator, who has been named by the authorities as Stephan B, and his mother.

A spokesman for the prosecutors’ office in Karlsruhe said B had not previously come to the attention of the authorities as a right-wing extremist.

Investigators are probing whether he had accomplices.

Federal prosecutors see the crime as motivated by right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism, as such posing a threat to national security – a reason commonly given for federal investigators to take over cases.

“He planned to kill people,’’ an investigator said, noting that Stephan B had been unable to implement his plans in full.

Prosecutors are working on charges of murder and attempted murder.

No details were provided on the condition of the 27-year-old man, who was apparently injured when he was detained after being involved in a road accident as he fled in a stolen vehicle to the south of Halle.

His friends and relatives are being probed, the investigators said.

The attacker apparently attempted to storm the synagogue, where some 50 people were marking Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, on Wednesday.

After the attack failed, he is alleged to have killed a woman in front of the synagogue and a man in a kebab shop, and to have injured two others, all the while filming his deeds with a helmet camera and broadcasting them over the internet.

The videos are reported to have been viewed more than 2,000 times before being taken down.

Copies are reported to be in private circulation.

German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was to visit the synagogue in Halle later on Thursday.

Immediately after the shooting, he spoke on the phone with Josef Schuster, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.




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