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Suspected gunman in deadly Germany synagogue shooting arrested

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A police officer stands guard next to a police car near the site of a shooting, in which two people were killed, in Halle, Germany (Picture: Reuters)
A police officer stands guard next to a police car near the site of a shooting, in which two people were killed, in Halle, Germany (Picture: Reuters)

Police in Germany say they have arrested the suspected gunman behind a shooting near a synagogue.

At least two people were killed in shootings at multiple locations in Germany, including near a synagogue in the city of Halle.

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Officers had earlier said that at least one person was on the run and local residents were urged to seek safety, as the attack may have involved as many as three suspects, according to the Federal Criminal Office.

However, authorities have now believe there was only one gunman.

The attack took place on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur when there were about 80 people in the synagogue.

German media named the killer as 27-year-old far-right activist Stephan Balliet and online streaming site Twitch said it was ‘working urgently’ to remove video of the rampage which he broadcast live on its platform.

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It showed him taking a bomb from his car and trying to blow up a gate at the side of the building. When a woman confronts him, asking if his behaviour was ‘really necessary’, he shoots her dead.

This video grab from a self-shot video that was released on the streaming platform Twitch on October 9, 2019 shows a gunman before a deadly shooting in the German city of Halle. The gunman of deadly shooting in the German city of Halle filmed himself during the attack and posted the footage online, the SITE monitoring group said. - In an excerpt of the footage obtained by AFP, the suspected perpetrator launched into an anti-Semitic diatribe in English. IMAGE of the suspected perpetrator from the video that was shared on livestream platform Twitch. (Photo by Marie-Laure MESSANA / TWITCH / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Video shared on streaming platform Twitch" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo by MARIE-LAURE MESSANA/TWITCH/AFP via Getty Images)
The gunman released a self-shot video on the streaming platform Twitch before the deadly shooting in the German city of Halle (Picture: AFP)
TOPSHOT - In this screenshot taken from a video by ATV-Studio Halle, a man shoots in the streets of Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany, on October 9, 2019. - At least two people were shot dead on a street in Halle, police said, with witnesses saying that a synagogue was among the gunmen's targets as Jews marked the holy day of Yom Kippur. One suspect was captured but with a manhunt ongoing for other perpetrators, security has been tightened in synagogues in other eastern German cities while Halle itself was in lockdown. (Photo by Andreas Splett / ATV-Studio Halle / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by ANDREAS SPLETT/ATV-Studio Halle/AFP via Getty Images)
The man shoots in the streets of Halle (Picture: AFP)
HALLE, GERMANY - OCTOBER 09: Police block access to a street near the scene of a shooting that has left two people dead on October 9, 2019 in Halle, Germany. According to initial reports a man opened fire with a submachine gun outside a synagogue and threw a hand grenade into the Jewish cemetery. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)
At least two people were killed in shootings at multiple locations in Germany (Picture: Getty Images)

The lockdown in Halle, a city of 240,000 people,  has been lifted after residents were told to stay indoors, because ‘the endangerment level for the population is no longer seen as acute,’ authorities said.

This evening Germany’s interior minister said the attack appears to have been motivated by anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism, while Chancellor Angela Merkel offered her ‘deep sympathy’.

A Jewish leader said the assailant tried to force his way into the synagogue but was unable to break through the door.

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Max Privorotzki, head of Halle’s Jewish community, told news magazine Der Spiegel the suspect ‘shot several times at the synagogue door and threw Molotov cocktails or grenades to force his way in’.

He added: ‘The door remained closed – God protected us.’ Rita Katz, head of the SITE Intelligence Group, wrote on Twitter that the attacker said in English on the footage that the ‘root of all problems are the Jews’.

The assailant fled the scene in a taxi but he was arrested by police when a truck rammed the vehicle.

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel visited a vigil at a Berlin synagogue for the victims last night as the US ambassador to the country revealed that ten Americans were in the congregation at the time of the shooting.

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