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Shooting in Halle, Germany: what we know

At least two people have been killed in a shooting near a synagogue in Halle, Germany.

Police in Halle en der Saale, in eastern Germany, on October 9, 2019 after two people were killed in a shooting outside a synagogue.
Photo by SEBASTIAN WILLNOW/dpa/AFP via Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

At least two people have been killed Wednesday in Halle, Germany, in what German officials are now calling an anti-Semitic attack.

The shootings occurred near a synagogue and a kebab shop. Two other people were injured.

Wednesday is Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, and the gunman attacked the synagogue as congregants were gathered to observe the holiday. German media is reporting that the gunman posted a video of his assault on Twitch, the live video-streaming service. It was recorded with a helmet camera, repeating extremist talking points.

At least one suspect has been arrested. Police originally believed others might have been involved in the attack but it now appears as though the assailant acted alone.

The story is still developing. Here’s what we know, and don’t know, so far.

What we know

  • At least two people were killed in a shooting near a synagogue and its cemetery, and near a kebab shop in Halle, a city in eastern Germany, according to media reports. Two other people were injured.
  • The BBC, citing local German media, said shots were fired at the synagogue. Witnesses inside the synagogue told German media that the gunman tried to enter the synagogue but could not force his way inside.
  • Police also said that gunshots were fired in Landsberg, a town about 15 miles from Halle. It was not clear if the incidents were connected, reports ABC News.
  • At least one suspect is in custody, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Earlier on Wednesday, police said two other suspects may have fled in a vehicle south, but authorities now believe just one gunman carried out the attack, according to German outlet DW.
  • German media is reporting that the gunman recorded his attack on a camera mounted on his helmet. On the video, which he posted to live-streaming service Twitch, he made anti-Semitic and extremist references, according to reports. Twitch removed the video, saying in a statement it “worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”
  • German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that police suspect the shooting may have been an anti-Semitic attack. “Based on the information that we have at this point, we must assume that at the least, this was an anti-Semitic attack,” said Seehofer, according to the New York Times.
  • German federal prosecutors have taken over the case, according to DW. “Whether this case had an anti-Semitic motive still has to be determined,” Carolin Urban, a spokesperson for the federal prosecutors office, said. “We do not exclude any possibility.”

What we don’t know

  • The identity of the victims
  • The identity of the suspect involved

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