German prosecutors said Tuesday that they have charged the right-wing extremist behind a deadly terrorist attack on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle with double murder and the attempted murder of 68 people.
The 28-year-old German man, identified only as Stephan B, also faces charges of incitement, bodily harm and predatory extortion, and was accused of acting based on “anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic sentiments.”
Stephan B attempted to attack the synagogue on October 9 last year, which was Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Shortly before the attack, he posted an anti-Semitic diatribe online, made up of three documents in which he called for Jews to be killed.
Fifty-two people had gathered in the synagogue, which he drove to with eight firearms, several explosive devices, a helmet and a vest, according to his indictment. He wanted to “kill as many of the attendees as possible,” the prosecutors said.
After throwing an explosive onto the property and unsuccessfully trying to open the synagogue’s front door and force open a gate, he shot dead a 40-year-old woman who was outside of the temple.
“He wanted to kill the worshippers who were there or make them flee out of the synagogue to then be able to shoot them,” according to the indictment.
Frustrated by his inability to get into the synagogue, Stephan B then decided to “kill people with a migrant background,” throwing an explosive device at a nearby kebab shop and shooting a 20-year-old man inside. He live-streamed the entire attack through a popular gaming website, as he had hoped to “present his attack to a broad public and have imitators carry out similar acts,” prosecutors said.
He then fled the city, shooting two people in a small town near Halle, where he abandoned his car and stole a taxi to drive onward. He was arrested shortly after.
The indictment was filed April 16 at the state court in Naumburg, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Halle, but it was not immediately clear when a trial might take place.
lc/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)