Two people were killed in shooting attacks near a synagogue and a kebab shop in eastern Germany today, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism.
German public broadcaster, MDR showed video of a man in a helmet and an olive-colored top getting out of a car and firing shots from behind a car.
Authorities say two men in military gear tried to enter the synagogue with between 70 and 80 people inside but were thwarted by security.
An eyewitness said, “Suddenly this man wearing a helmet and military clothes, holding a gun and wearing a mask, wanted to throw what looked like a hand grenade or an explosive, but it bounced off the door frame and exploded right in front of this elderly woman with a very loud bang. And then he raised the gun and started shooting.”
One shooting took place in front of the synagogue. A suspect also threw a bomb into a nearby Jewish cemetery.
A man was killed in a Turkish kebab shop, and a woman died on a street close to the synagogue.
One person was arrested, but police believe at least one other may have fled the area in a vehicle. There was also gunfire reported in a nearby city.
In Germany last year, violent attacks against Jews almost doubled.
For the first time since the Nazi regime, Jewish leaders are warning that it’s too dangerous to wear the Kippah or Jewish cap in some areas.
German Jew Olig Butkuvesly said, “Me, myself, I wouldn’t wear a Kippah. Unfortunately, it’s not safe. Maybe I hope that it will be safe in the future or maybe it was safe in the past, but right now in 2019, it’s not safe at all.”
Jews in Germany face a deadly threat from both neo-Nazis and radical Muslims. Muslims in Germany now outnumber Jews 50 to one.
One German-Jewish leader said the threat to Jews is far worse than the government will admit. “They are playing it down. They’re lying. They have no other word. They are lying about it.”
Police gave no information about the suspect in custody or why police think the attack may have been carried out by multiple assailants.
Federal prosecutors, who handle cases involving suspected terrorism or national security, have taken over the investigation.