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Gunman accused of German synagogue assault to stand trial in July

Stephan Balliet has been charged with two counts of murder and several counts of attempted murder with ‘anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic intention’

An armed man believed to be gunman Stephan Balliet, on a street in Halle, Germany, during a shooting outside a synagogue in that city which killed two, October 9, 2019. (Screenshot/Andreas Splett/ATV-Studio Halle/AFP)
An armed man believed to be gunman Stephan Balliet, on a street in Halle, Germany, during a shooting outside a synagogue in that city which killed two, October 9, 2019. (Screenshot/Andreas Splett/ATV-Studio Halle/AFP)

BERLIN — A German man charged with a deadly anti-Semitic shooting in the eastern city of Halle last year will go on trial on July 21, a regional court said Monday.

Stephan Balliet is accused of shooting dead two people in October after he tried and failed to storm a synagogue.

He has been charged with two counts of murder and several counts of attempted murder relating to a total of 68 people.

“The defendant is suspected of having committed an attack on the synagogue in Halle on October 9, 2019, with the anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic intention of attempting to murder citizens of the Jewish faith,” the higher regional court in Naumburg said.

Balliet is accused of attempting to use explosives and firearms to gain access to the closed synagogue, where 52 worshipers were celebrating Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Stephan Balliet (Screengrab)

After failing to storm the synagogue, he shot dead a passer-by and pointed his firearm at other people, prosecutors said.

He is then accused of shooting dead a man at a nearby kebab shop after attempting to kill all nine people inside with a grenade.

He filmed the attack and livestreamed it on the internet.

Balliet also published documents online that explain his motivation for the attack and call for the killing of all Jews.

Prosecutors said he made a “very comprehensive” confession during an interrogation, confirming “far-right and anti-Semitic motives.”

Germany has been rocked by a string of extreme-right attacks over the past 12 months.

The Halle attack came three months after the shocking assassination-style murder of local pro-migrant politician Walter Luebcke in the western city of Kassel, allegedly by a known neo-Nazi.

That trial will begin in Frankfurt on Tuesday.

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