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World From Germany to America, synagogues are frequently the target of attacks

03:05  10 october  2019
03:05  10 october  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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From Germany to America , synagogues are frequently the target of attacks . Anti-Semitic hate crimes have risen on German soil and in other European countries during recent years, with synagogues — once considered safe havens — frequently becoming targets .

Attacks on Jews rose by 20% last year and were mainly carried out by right-wing extremists. Even before the Halle shooting, a heavy police presence guarded the synagogue in the trendy suburb of "People like the attacker have probably never met a Jew in their lives. They are just blinded by hatred."

LONDON — A shooting near a synagogue in the German city of Halle claimed at least two lives Wednesday, an attack that coincided with Yom Kippur — one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes have risen on German soil and in other European countries in recent years, with synagogues — once considered safe havens — frequently becoming targets.

And it’s not just in Europe. According to a report issued this year, anti-Semitic incidents around the world rose 13 percent in 2018.

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Synagogues are often protected by police in Germany and have been for many years amid concerns over far-right and Islamic extremism, but Schuster German officials rushed to condemn the attack . Chancellor Angela Merkel visited a synagogue in Berlin on Wednesday evening in a show of solidarity.

An attack on a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle in the state of Saxony-Anhalt sent shockwaves across country on Wednesday. Police say the man had no previous arrests, but his targets suggest that he had anti-Semitic and xenophobic beliefs.

In October 2018, an armed gunman opened fire inside Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, killing 11 people and wounding many more. The massacre became the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

At the time, police said the motive of the alleged shooter, Robert Bowers, was “to kill Jews.”

a group of people riding skis on a snowy street: Police officers work at the site of a shooting, in which two people were killed, in Halle, Germany October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Slideshow by Reuters

While synagogues in Germany are usually protected by police, worshipers and officials around the world are increasingly forced to weigh tighter security measures. In the United States, the Pittsburgh massacre prompted many to debate the idea of ramping up security measures in and around holy buildings.

Those in support of the measures think tighter security would make people feel safer, while others fear the protective steps could make a place of worship less welcoming.

Shooting Kills 2 in Anti-Semitic Attack on German Synagogue

  Shooting Kills 2 in Anti-Semitic Attack on German Synagogue BERLIN — The police locked down the center of the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday, warning citizens to stay at home while they searched for attackers who fatally shot at least two people in broad daylight and tried to breach a guarded synagogue during services for Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. At least two, possibly three, gunmen opened fire near the synagogue, federal prosecutors said, and the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said at least one heavily armed attacker had “tried to force his way into a synagogue where some 80 people were inside.

Multiple people are dead and injured following the attack in Halle, a city in the east of Germany . Police warned the attacker had "fled" and that people should They gave no details about the target of the attack and there were varying reports. The Bild and Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspapers reported that

The 2019 Halle attack was a shooting incident that occurred on 9 October 2019 in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany . Two people were killed, and two others were severely injured. The suspect is the 27-year-old German citizen Stephan Balliet from Lower-Saxony.

While speaking to reporters after the attack, President Trump was asked whether the shooting would prompt the United States to revisit its gun laws. “This has little to do with it. If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better,” he said, suggesting that armed guards could help prevent atrocities.

After Trump’s remarks, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto hit back, saying: “I don’t think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques and churches filled with armed guards.”

a woman standing next to a fire hydrant: Mourners gather at a memorial in front of the Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 29, 2018, where 11 people were killed in a mass shooting. (Justin Merriman for The Washington Post)© Justin Merriman/For The Washington Post Mourners gather at a memorial in front of the Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 29, 2018, where 11 people were killed in a mass shooting. (Justin Merriman for The Washington Post)

Just six months after the Tree of Life shooting, a 19-year-old white man killed one person and wounded three more when he opened fire at a California synagogue. The shooting, which took place on the last day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, sent shock waves through the local community.

German president, at synagogue gunman attacked, says: "We must protect Jewish life"

  German president, at synagogue gunman attacked, says: Germans need to stand together against extremist violence and protect Jewish life, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday after visiting a synagogue where a gunman began an attack a day earlier in which he killed two people. © REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier holds flowers outside a synagogue in Halle, Germany October 10, 2019, after two people were killed in a shooting. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke "Today is a day of shame and disgrace," Steinmeier said outside the synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

“(The attacker ) shot at least once in the shop, the man behind me must be dead. Germany has also been on high alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years claimed by the Islamic State group. The attack appears to be the latest in a wave of racially and religiously motivated crimes against Jews

Germany has been on high alert following several attacks in recent years, including some claimed by the Islamic State group, as well as neo-Nazi Between 70 and 80 people were in the synagogue on a day when Jews around the world mark one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar Photo: dpa / Jan

In May, a man threw molotov cocktails at a Chicago synagogue in an effort to set it on fire, police said. After the attempted arson attack and other reports of vandalism at synagogues in the surrounding area, the Chicago Police Department was forced to ramp up security outside Jewish schools, businesses and synagogues.

According to a report released this year, the most serious anti-Semitic incidents of 2018 took place in the United States and the United Kingdom, followed by France, Germany and Canada.

a group of people on a sidewalk next to a car: Police stand near the covered body of a victim as they secure the area in front of the wall of a Jewish cemetery at the site of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany, on Oct. 9. (Swen Pförtner/dpa/AFP via Getty Images)© Swen Pfortner/Dpa/Afp Via Getty Images Police stand near the covered body of a victim as they secure the area in front of the wall of a Jewish cemetery at the site of a shooting in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany, on Oct. 9. (Swen Pförtner/dpa/AFP via Getty Images) In the United Kingdom, a record number of anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in the first six months of 2019 by Jewish charity Community Security Trust. The report, which was shared in August, said that 892 incidents had been recorded — a 10 percent increase from the 810 incidents recorded during the first six months of 2018.

In July, a far-right extremist set fire to a synagogue — and himself — after pouring fuel through a synagogue’s windows in Devon, a seaside county in England. The attack coincided with a Jewish feast day that is used to commemorate the Holocaust.

During his arrest, the suspect allegedly said: “Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground. If not, it’s poor preparation,” the BBC reported at the time.

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