Moment gunman started firing on street

German police have arrested one man after an attack outside a Jewish synagogue killed two people.

New video footage posted online shows a man wearing army gear and firing shots from behind a Volkswagen car.

Witnesses had earlier reported a man in similar clothing near a synagogue in Halle, two hours south of Berlin, where two people were killed.

Police gave no information about the arrested person or reasons why they thought the attack could have been carried out by more than one person.

According to reports, a gunman sought to enter a synagogue but security measures in place helped to “withstand the attack”, a Jewish community leader told Spiegel online.

Max Privorotzki, who heads the community in Halle, added that between 70 and 80 people were in the synagogue on a day when Jews around the world were marking Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Hebrew calendar.

Police secure a synagogue in Halle, Germany, after a gunman opened fire, killing two people. Picture: AP
media_cameraPolice secure a synagogue in Halle, Germany, after a gunman opened fire, killing two people. Picture: AP

It comes as German anti-terror prosecutors took over the probe, which happened outside a synagogue and at a Turkish restaurant.

Following the gun rampage in which at least two people were killed, the spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office said the step had been taken given “the particular importance of the case” which he said involved “violent acts that affect the domestic security of the Federal Republic of Germany”.

The scene of the synagogue shooting in Halle, Germany. Picture: Twitter
media_cameraThe scene of the synagogue shooting in Halle, Germany. Picture: Twitter

There were also reports that police had also arrested persons of interest on Tuesday night (local time) because of fears they were planning an attack.

The body of one man has been covered in the streets of Halle, while there were reports the other victim was a woman.

Police had also reported shots being fired 15km away from the initial attack.

Local police said in a tweet that one person had been arrested but asked locals to remain vigilant.

Police officers at a synagogue in Halle, after a shooting that left two people dead. Picture: AP
media_cameraPolice officers at a synagogue in Halle, after a shooting that left two people dead. Picture: AP

Witness Konrad Rösler, 28, was in a kebab shop when he saw the gunman.

“You have the man in army clothes with rifle. Then he threw something that looked like a grenade,” he told Bild.

“The thing has rebounded in the door frame. Then he shot into the glass. I found a toilet and locked myself up there. Then I heard another bang. At some point I heard the police and I made myself known and went out.”

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Police at the scene. Picture: AP
media_cameraPolice at the scene. Picture: AP

A police spokesman said: “According to initial information, two people have been killed in Halle.

“Several shots were fired. We are asking the public to stay in their homes.”

Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in Germany, with reports of a rabbi being spat upon in Berlin last month.

And the word “Jew” has become a swear word in some school yards.

The shooting happened on Yom Kippur, a the holiest day in the Jewish year. Picture: AFP
media_cameraThe shooting happened on Yom Kippur, a the holiest day in the Jewish year. Picture: AFP

A man interviewed on n-tv television said he had been in a kebab shop when he saw a man with a helmet and a military jacket fire shots into the shop. Police said shots were also fired in Landsberg, about 15km from Halle. It wasn’t clear whether that shooting was related to the shooting in Halle.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, lamented what he called “terrible news from Halle” but government officials said they had no information on the attack.

Policemen secure the area between Wiedersdorf and Landsberg where shots were fired. Picture: AFP
media_cameraPolicemen secure the area between Wiedersdorf and Landsberg where shots were fired. Picture: AFP

Originally published as Moment gunman started firing on street