German synagogue shooting was far-right terror
German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht has said that the shooting at a synagogue in the German city of Halle on 7 October was a far-right terror attack.
Lambrecht said that Stephan Balliet, the alleged perpetrator, had four kilos of explosives in his car, and was planning a ‘massacre’. He is now facing two counts of murder and nine counts of attempted murder.
Nearly 2,200 people watched a live stream that Balliet, a German national, allegedly posted on the online streaming platform Twitch. The video - which was removed from Twitch - showed him making anti-Semitic and misogynistic comments before driving to the synagogue and shooting at its door.
After unsuccessfully trying to get into the building, the suspect shot dead two people, while two people were also wounded by bullets and required surgery. Reports within Germany also claim that the gunman also tried to set off explosives at the synagogue.
German Police are being criticised, with claims of ‘negligence’ coming from parts of the country’s Jewish community. The head of the Central Council of Jews labelled it as ‘scandalous’ that police were not protecting the synagogue on the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday, with further critics saying that the attack highlights how thinly spread the police cover is.
Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told a news conference that the threat of anti-Semitism and right-wing terrorism was very high.
The attack was condemned by European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. At an event in Nuremberg, Merkel said the government would use ‘all means available’ to tackle hatred and bigotry.
Germany has been on high terror alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years, culminating in a December 2016 attack when a man drove a lorry into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.
An attack on motorists in the western town of Limburg on the same day (7 October) was also being investigated as terrorism.