HALLE, Germany (Reuters) – Two people were killed in shooting attacks on a synagogue and a nearby kebab shop in the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday and one suspect was arrested, but two others fled in a hijacked a car, officials said.
The violence occurred on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the calendar in Judaism when Jews fast, seeking atonement. Broadcaster n-tv reported that two people were seriously injured in the attack, in addition to the two killed.
The two suspects on the loose headed out on a motorway that leads to Munich in the country’s south, according to the mayor of the town of Landsberg, adjacent to Halle. Gunfire was also heard in Landsberg, Focus Online reported.
A spokeswoman for the Halle municipal government said one shooting took place in front of the synagogue on Humboldt street and its accompanying cemetery, while a second burst of gunfire targeted the kebab bistro in the city in the province of Saxony.
Max Privorozki, Halle’s Jewish community chairman, described how a gunman tried to shoot his way into the city’s synagogue.
“We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily-armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper. “The man looked like he was from the special forces…But our doors held.”