German media report gunmen tried to enter synagogue and threw grenade into kebab restaurant
Authorities in the eastern German city of Halle say they are dealing with a rampage situation after gunmen reportedly targeted a synagogue and a kebab shop in the city, killing two people.
Several shots were fired in the Paulus quarter north of the city centre around midday, police said. The head of the the Jewish community in Halle, Max Privorotzki, told Spiegel magazine that gunmen in military gear had tried to force their way into a synagogue but were repelled by security personnel.
The Jewish community has been celebrating Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism. There were 70 to 80 people in the synagogue at the time of the incident, Privorotzki said.
One of the attackers had tried to open the door to the synagogue and then the gate to the cemetery by shooting at the locks. We barricaded the doors from the inside and waited for the police, Privorotzki added. Worship had continued after the attack, he said.
Witnesses also said the attackers had fired at a nearby kebab shop, reportedly killing a male customer inside. Two people were taken to hospital with bullet wounds, police confirmed.
Germanys public prosecutor general took charge of investigations but would not comment on a possible background behind the attack. We are investigating into all possible directions, including antisemitic and rightwing extremist motives, a spokesperson told the Guardian.
Police later said one suspect had been arrested but urged people to remain vigilant. It did not give any details of the person arrested and said police were in the process of stabilising the situation.
Our forces have detained one person, a tweet from the police said. Please remain alert, however. We have deployed forces in and around Halle and are stabilising the situation until we have all the relevant information.
According to Spiegel, the two attackers had separated after the initial assault, with one man arrested by police on the motorway after hijacking a taxi.
A video, filmed on a mobile phone and broadcast by regional TV station MDR, showed a man in green military gear standing at the back of a parked car, firing a rifle.
A resident interviewed by the news agency dpa said a man dressed like a police officer had taken aim and shot a young girl with an automatic rifle outside the synagogue, and then thrown a hand grenade over a wall at the Jewish cemetery. The report could not be confirmed.