A gunman killed two people outside a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday, apparently filming his attack on a head-mounted camera in a method that had chilling echoes of a far-right attack on two New Zealand mosques earlier this year.
A gunman who denounced Jews opened fire outside a German synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Foiled by a locked door, he killed two people outside and wounded two others in an anti-Semitic spree that smacked of far-right terrorism.
Just weeks after a broad effort announced by tech platforms to curb the spread of violent content, a video of Wednesday’s deadly shooting in the German city of Halle was posted online, where it was seen by some 2,200 people.
The gunman posted a video of the attack on the Twitch Livestream gaming platform owned by Amazon, the company acknowledged.
The video of the shooting at a synagogue and a Turkish restaurant included a “manifesto” with racist and anti-Semitic commentary.
At the beginning of the 35-minute video, a man in a green jacket that matches eyewitness accounts introduces himself as “Anon.” He denies the Holocaust and lists what he sees as the world’s problems, including feminism that leads to low birthrates and immigration.
When a locked door keeps him from gaining entry to the synagogue packed with worshipers for Yom Kippur, he shoots a woman in the street and a man at a nearby kebab shop. Two other people were seriously injured, but regional broadcaster MDR said their condition was not critical.
Police said they had detained one person, reported by German magazines Spiegel and Focus Online to be a 27-year-old German named Stephan B. His full name cannot be published under German privacy laws. Video broadcast on Amazon’s gaming subsidiary Twitch showed a young man with a shaven headfirst reciting a short statement in broken English while sitting in a parked car.
A spokeswoman for Amazon said Twitch “worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”
The company later said its investigation suggested that “people were coordinating and sharing the video via other online messaging services,” but did not elaborate. Reuters found copies and links to the footage posted on Twitter, 4chan and message boards focused on trolling and harassment, as well as multiple white supremacist channels on messaging app Telegram.
In the video, the man drove to the synagogue, found the gates shut and unsuccessfully sought to force the gates open. He then shot several rounds at a woman passerby.
“We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” Max Privorozki, Halle’s Jewish community chairman, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.
Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who studies online extremism, wrote in a post on Twitter that footage of the attack flowed through the messaging platform Telegram, reaching more than 15,000 accounts.
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