– At least two people have been killed in the attack in the eastern German city of Halle.
– The shooting occured near a synagogue while the Jewish community was observing Yom Kippur, but a connection has not yet been confirmed.
– The police have detained one suspect, but have warned that others may remain at large.
All updates in the UTC/GMT time zone
15:44 Authorities in Halle have confirmed that one male and one female victim were being treated in a local hospital for gun shot wounds.
Police have also said they discovered explosive material near the city’s Humboldt Street synagogue.
15:32 A spokeswoman for the city government of Halle has clarified that there were shots fired in two parts of the city, with one incident occurring near the synagogue and Jewish cemetery, and another outside of a Kebab shop. At least two suspects fled in what was possibly a stolen vehicle, heading south on the route that leads to Munich.
Heavy police presence in #Halle following a deadly shooting near a synagogue that killed at least two people. Main train station is still closed and some roads blocked as authorities search for additional suspects. pic.twitter.com/GDkRhm33rM
— Carl Nasman (@CarlNasman) October 9, 2019
15:19 Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, expressed his sadness at the timing and apparent anti-Semitic nature of the attack, saying on Twitter: “That on the Yom Kippur a synagogue was shot at touches all our hearts. We must all act against anti-Semitism in our country.”
Dass am Versöhnungsfest #YomKippur auf eine Synagoge geschossen wird, trifft uns ins Herz. Wir alle müssen gegen den Antisemitismus in unserem Land vorgehen. In diesen schweren Stunden sind meine Gedanken bei den Toten und Verletzten, ihren Angehörigen und der Polizei. #Halle
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) October 9, 2019
Malu Dreyer, the head of Maas’ Social Democratic Party (SPD), said, “many signs suggest that this brutal attack was directed at Jewish life in Germany. We will never accept this.”
15:11 Igor Matviyets, 28, a member of Halle’s Jewish community, spoke with DW about his shock and sadness, though he pointed out that there have been a string of smaller hate crimes in Halle in recent years.
“Like everywhere else, there were also anti-Semitic incidents in Halle, not as many as in bigger cities like Berlin, but things happened here, too — never life-threatening, but graffiti, shouting, some anti-Semitic demonstrations as there is a far-right scene in Halle of course.”
“I am shocked and don’t know how I will feel in this city in the coming days and weeks.”
14:59 Police in Bavaria have said they are preparing officers over suspicions that the escaped suspects may be fleeing to the southern state.
Rainer Haseloff, the conservative state premier of Saxony-Anhalt, where Halle lies, issued a statement saying: “I am appalled by this detestable act. Not only have people been torn out of our midst, it is also a cowardly attack on peaceful coexistence in our country. My sympathy goes to the families of the victims.”
14:13 Halle police warned against speculation on their Twitter feed after a rumor began spreading rapidly online that some people had been taken hostage in a city supermarket. The police stressed that there was no evidence of a hostage situation.
Train travel between Hamburg and Munich and Berlin and Munich has been disrupted with the Halle train station still closed, rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) said.
13:49 Federal prosecutors in Germany have announced that they will be handling the murder case in Halle.
An anniversary celebration for the lead-up to the fall of the Berlin Wall planned for nearby Leipzig this evening will still go ahead, organizers have said.
13:24 Max Privorotzki, head of Halle Jewish Community, tells the German press that the building was “fully occupied” at the time of the shooting because of Yom Kippur.
12:55 Officials said that police protection near synagogues was being strengthened in Halle, Leipzig and Dresden for the time being. In Leipzig, major commemorations are planned for this evening to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the rallies that eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
12:30 Shots were also reported in the neighboring town of Landsberg following the shooting in Halle, but police did not immediately provide further details or say whether the two shootings were related.
12:17 Police and Jewish community leaders confirm that the shooting happened in the Paulusviertel district, near a synagogue. While no connection could be declared with certainly, the attack took place on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism.
12:00 Two people are confirmed dead by authorities, though no further details of their indentities have been given. Officers say they have detained one suspect.
The main train station in Halle, located outside the city of Leipzig, was also closed as police continue to search for the suspects.
11:20 Police in Halle confirm that shots were fired in the eastern German city. They warn locals to stay indoors, saying multiple possible suspects fled in a car. One eye witness told public broadcaster MDR that one of the suspects was wearing a military-style combat uniform and was armed with “multiple weapons”