Friday, 25 September 2020

German suspect planned ‘massacre,’ had explosives in car

(Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP)

The suspect in an attack on a German synagogue on Judaism’s holiest day had around four kilograms (nearly nine pounds) of explosives in his car and wanted to carry out a massacre, Germany’s top prosecutor said.

Many questions remained about how the man was able to get hold of the weapons he used in the assault, in which two people outside the building were killed.

As officials sought to reassure an unsettled Jewish community and address concern about rising right-wing extremism, Germany’s president visited the scene of the attack in Halle and urged his nation to stand up for its Jewish compatriots.

The assailant — a German citizen identified by prosecutors as Stephan B. – tried but failed to force his way into the synagogue as around 80 people were inside. He then shot and killed a woman in the street outside and a man at a nearby kebab shop. He is now in custody.

“What we experienced yesterday was terror,” said Peter Frank, the chief federal prosecutor. “The suspect, Stephan B., aimed to carry out a massacre in the synagogue in Halle.”

Frank said his weapons were “apparently homemade” and the explosives in the car were built into “numerous devices.” The suspect, who livestreamed the attack on a popular gaming site while ranting in English about Jews and posted a “manifesto” online before embarking on it, “wanted to create a worldwide effect” and encourage others to imitate him, the prosecutor added.

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