Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo REUTERS

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenburg Sunday morning, hours after an assailant burst into the synagogue Rabbi Rottenburg operates and wounded five people, including Chaim Rottenburg.

Cuomo condemned the attack during his visit, calling it a sign of “intolerance”, “ignorance”, and an “American cancer”

"This is intolerance meets ignorance meets illegality," Cuomo said. "This is an intolerant time in this country.

"We see anger and hatred exploded. It is an American cancer in the body politic."

The governor also called the attack an act of domestic terrorism, adding that he expected it to prosecuted as such.

"This is an act of terrorism. I think these are domestic terrorists. They are trying to inflict fear."

Authorities have yet to comment on the motives behind the attack, but Governor Cuomo said the stabbings were clearly a hate crime.

"They're motivated by hate. They are doing mass attacks. These are terrorists in our country perpetrating terrorism on other Americans, and that's how we should treat it."

Five people were wounded in the machete attack, which took place at approximately 9:50 p.m. Saturday, while congregants gathered a Hasidic synagogue operated by Rabbi Rottenburg in Monsey, New York.

Some 50 to 60 people had gathered to light Hanukkah candles to mark the seventh night of Hannukah, when the assailant, who was covering his face with a scarf, burst into the synagogue brandishing a machete, and began stabbing congregants.

Some congregants hurled chairs and a small table at the assailant, forcing him to flee.

The attacker drove off, making his way to New York City.

Police found him roughly two hours later, at around midnight, after identifying his car via the license plate number.

The suspect has been taken into custody, though no information regarding his identity has been released as of yet.

Of the five victims wounded in the attack, two were originally listed in critical condition. Subsequent reports indicate only one is in critical condition, after suffering a head wound during the attack.