Attack in Halle, Germany
Attack in Halle, Germany Reuters

Arthur Stark, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, on Friday issued a statement in the wake of the attack targeting the synagogue in Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur.

“We are horrified and concerned by the anti-Jewish attack that occurred at the Halle synagogue in Germany on Yom Kippur, and offer our support to the local and national communities and our condolences to those who lost loved ones and pray for a speedy recovery for the injured,” they said.

“The perpetrator despicably chose the holiest day of the Jewish year to strike, and engaged in Holocaust denial in the moments leading up to the attack. We stand with Germany’s Jews in the wake of this tragedy and call on German law enforcement to be aggressive and vigilant in the fight against Jew-hatred in all its manifestations,” added Stark and Hoenlein.

“This is yet another indication that antisemitism is on the rise around the world, and it will take a coordinated effort to combat this growing crisis,” they concluded.

The shooter, 27-year-old Stephan Balliet, on Friday admitted to the shooting rampage and confessed that it was motivated by anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism.

Balliet is accused of shooting dead two people in the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday, after he tried and failed to storm a synagogue.

The victims, a German man and woman, appeared to be chosen at random when the assailant failed to gain access to the synagogue he had besieged with gunfire and homemade explosives, as the frightened congregation barricaded itself inside.

The victims were identified in German media on Thursday as Jana Lange, 40, and Kevin S., 20.

Police eventually captured Balliet after a gun battle that left him wounded.

The chairman of the Jewish community in Halle said Balliet tried to break into the synagogue during prayer, but was blocked by security guards, preventing a larger death toll. Between 50 and 70 worshipers were inside the synagogue at the time of the attack, including 10 Americans.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)