The 27-year-old suspect has confessed to the attack at the synagogue in Halle that left two dead, Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said on Friday.
During a lengthy meeting with German investigators on Thursday, Stephan B. spoke “very extensively” and admitted that anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist beliefs motivated him to commit the attack, a spokesperson for the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.
“He gave an extensive confession. He confirmed far-right and anti-Semitic motives” for the attack, the spokesman said.
The suspect made the confession to the judge at Germany’s Federal Court of Justice on Thursday evening. The arrest warrant, issued on Thursday, was for two counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
German special police escort Stephan B., suspected of killing two people in a shooting in Halle October 9, 2019, as he arrives prior to a hearing at the Federal Court in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Meanwhile, on Friday evening more than 2,000 members of the community came together to form a human chain in front of the synagogue where Stephan B. carried out the attack.
Similar vigils took place in many other German cities. The Jewish holy day of Shabbat begins on Friday at sunset.
The leader of the German Evangelical Church, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, was also in attendance in Halle. He described himself as “overwhelmed by how many people had come.”
“There is hope,” he told assembled crowds.
People also lit candles outside the synagogue and held them in their hands as a mark of solidarity.
Calls for stronger security laws
Stephan B. is currently in custody awaiting trial and the German authorities are treating the incident as a far-right terrorist attack.
German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in comments published inthe Tagesspiegel newspaper on Friday said, “Our country and its basic order is being attacked from within.” She also called for stronger security laws.
Meanwhile, German Interior Minister has accused right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD) of being partially responsible for the attack, and said they should distance themselves from inflammatory and hateful rhetoric.
Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, on Friday held a minute of silence for the victims of the attack.
kmm,ed/sms (dpa, ARD, AFP)