Merkel attends Berlin synagogue vigil for shooting victims in Yom Kippur attack
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Merkel attends Berlin synagogue vigil for shooting victims in Yom Kippur attack

German chancellor speaks with Jewish community, expresses ‘deep sympathy’ for the victims’ families and ‘solidarity for all Jews’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, stands with Rabbi Gesa S. Ederberg, left, and other members of the Jewish community at a vigil outside the New Synagogue in Berlin on October 9, 2019. (Anton Roland Laub/AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, stands with Rabbi Gesa S. Ederberg, left, and other members of the Jewish community at a vigil outside the New Synagogue in Berlin on October 9, 2019. (Anton Roland Laub/AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended an evening vigil at a historic synagogue in central Berlin on Wednesday to honor the victims of a deadly Yom Kippur attack in the east German city of Halle.

The vigil was called in solidarity with the Jewish community following the suspected anti-Semitic, far-right shooting at a synagogue that left two dead.

Merkel earlier condemned the attack, adding an expression of “solidarity for all Jews on the holy day of Yom Kippur.”

Merkel had “deep sympathy” for the victims’ loved ones, government spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted, adding the veteran chancellor’s “thanks to all the security forces who are still on the scene.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with members of the Jewish community at a vigil outside the New Synagogue in Berlin, October 9, 2019. (Anton Roland Laub/AFP)

Two people were shot dead in Halle earlier Wednesday in an anti-Semitic attack as Jews marked Yom Kippur. The gunman livestreamed the deadly assault.

One suspect was captured, police said, as security ramped up in synagogues and other Jewish sites across Germany.

In a 35-minute video, whose authenticity has not been confirmed by police, the gunman filmed himself launching into a diatribe against women and Jews, before carrying out the attack.

The Halle attack appears to be the latest in a wave of racially and religiously motivated crimes against Jews to rock Germany in recent years.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency reported that the number of anti-Semitic acts of violence rose sharply last year alongside a further increase in those identified as far-right extremists.

The BfV agency said in its annual report that incidents of anti-Semitic violence increased by 71.4 percent in 2018 to 48, from 28 the previous year.

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