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Gunman opens fire at rabbi’s home next to synagogue in Germany; no injuries

Police deploy at neighboring synagogue in Essen; minister says suspect caught on CCTV but remains at large; colleague calls incident ‘latest attack on Jewish life in Germany’

Police secures the old synagogue in Essen, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Police secures the old synagogue in Essen, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

BERLIN — German police staged a major deployment at a synagogue in the western city of Essen on Friday after several bullet holes were found in the rabbi’s residence.

Police said “four shots were fired from a loaded weapon” into the exterior of the home next to the city’s Old Synagogue but that no one was injured.

Officers were inspecting the site with sniffer dogs for any explosives.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said he was “shocked by this latest attack on Jewish life in Germany.”

“Antisemitism must have no place. It is our duty to protect Jewish life,” he tweeted.

Media reports said the shots were fired overnight and reported on Friday morning. They targeted a glass door at the entryway of the residence and two bullets pierced the glass.

Flowers and candles lie in memory of the victim of a right-wing shooting attack in 2019 in front of the kebab shop where the killing took place, in Halle, Germany, October 9, 2020. (Hendrik Schmidt/dpa via AP)

State interior minister Herbert Reul told local media that the alleged assailant, a man, had been captured on a security camera but was still at large.

The incident came three years after a gunman killed two people in the eastern city of Halle after failing to storm a synagogue on Yom Kippur.

Before the attack, he had posted a racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic manifesto online.

Germany in May reported a new record in the number of politically motivated crimes last year, including a nearly 29-percent jump in antisemitic crimes to 3,027.

Seven decades after the Holocaust in which the Nazi regime slaughtered six million Jews, the vast majority of the offenses — 2,552 — were attributed to the far-right scene.

Essen’s Old Synagogue was built in the early 20th century but its interior was largely destroyed by the Nazis in the November 1938 pogrom.

It underwent a thorough restoration and reopened as an expanded Jewish Culture House for interfaith dialogue in 2010.

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