Halle shul was told there was ‘no acute threat,’ eyewitness reveals
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Halle shul was told there was ‘no acute threat,’ eyewitness reveals

'It was miracle that we survived. It was really, very close,' eyewitness Anastassia Pletoukhina told local media

Police officer runs on a road in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. (Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP)
Police officer runs on a road in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. (Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP)

Congregants of a synagogue in Germany targeted on Yom Kippur were told there was “no acute threat” when members demanded police protection, an eyewitness told local media.

A heavily-armed attacker shot at the locked door of the synagogue in Halle, where over 70 worshippers were gathered to celebrate Judaism’s holiest day.

The assailant was unable to enter the building but killed two people nearby and several more were injured in the attack, which also targeted a kebab shop and was live-streamed on the gaming platform Twitch.

Eyewitness Anastassia Pletoukhina, who was in the synagogue during the attack, told the Jüdische Allgemeine newspaper it was “the longest 20 minutes” of her life.

“It was miracle that we survived. It was really, very close. The windows are made of normal glass, the offender would only have had to shoot in and he would have been inside and it would have been a bloodshed,” she said in German.

Pletoukhina, whose husband helped barricade the front door, said it was “a scandal” the shul had not been placed under police protection on Yom Kippur, echoing calls in the community for greater security to prevent future attacks.

She revealed the shul’s security guard was an untrained volunteer and claimed the community had demanded police protection on several occasions but were repeatedly told there was “no acute threat.”

The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told AFP: “It is scandalous that the synagogue in Halle is not protected by police on a holiday like Yom Kippur.

“This negligence has now been bitterly repaid.”

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