'German authorities didn't do enough to stop synagogue attack'

Leader of Jewish community in Germany charges police with failing to properly protect synagogue targeted by far-right gunman.

Marcy Oster, JTA,

Josef Schuster speaking at the Westend synagogue, in Frankfurt
Josef Schuster speaking at the Westend synagogue, in Frankfurt
Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

A Jewish leader in Germany doubled down on his accusation that police did not adequately protect a local synagogue at the center of an attack in the east of the country.

“If police had been stationed outside the synagogue, then this man could have been disarmed before he could attack the others,” Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Deutschlandfunk public radio on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Schuster on Wednesday evening in a statement had said that it was “scandalous that the synagogue in Halle was not protected by the police on a holiday like Yom Kippur.”

A far-right gunman opened fire near a synagogue during Yom Kippur services and at a kebab shop, killing two, in an attack that he livestreamed from a helmet camera. The gunman said that Jews are “the root of all problems.” He was identified by German media as Stephan Balliet, a 27-year-old German.

The synagogue’s high and strong metal doors were secured shut during the services and repelled the gunman’s attack, which reportedly was undertaken with homemade weapons which may have malfunctioned.

The head of Germany’s police union responded that the police could not provide such protection, according to Reuters.

“We’d have to guard every synagogue, every church, every mosque, every holy place in Germany around the clock, so I don’t know if this was a mistake or if this really couldn’t have been foreseen,” Oliver Malchow reportedly told public television in an interview.





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