Two people killed, one suspect arrested in shootings near synagogue in Germany

Sebastian Willnow / dpa / AFP

Two people have been killed, and one suspect arrested, following shootings near a synagogue in the eastern German town of Halle, according to local police.

A woman was killed near the town’s synagogue. Shortly afterwards a gunman opened fire at a kebab shop roughly 600 meters away, killing a man. Several people were also injured in what local authorities described as a “rampage.”

One suspect has now been arrested, with police telling locals in a tweet to “stay alert” and that it is “stabilizing the situation.”

It is not clear if there is more than one attacker involved, according to government spokesman Steffen Seibert. He tweeted: “We hope the security forces can quickly grab the perpetrator(s).”

The incident near the synagogue comes on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

An eyewitness, Conrad Rössler, told CNN affiliate NTV that he saw a man wearing a helmet and carrying an assault rifle throw what “looked like a hand grenade with gaffer tape” into the kebab store, but it “bounced back from the door frame and did not land inside the shop and did not explode.”

Rössler said the man then opened fire at “least once” into the shop while some five or six customers were inside.

Man seen in army clothing

Another witness, Rene Friedrich, told CNN he was driving past the synagogue when he saw a man dressed in army clothing and a steel helmet.

The man was holding what appeared to be a machine gun and throwing something over the synagogue wall. A person was lying on the ground beside him.

Friedrich, a bakery owner, drove away slowly and called police. But soon after, he again drove past the man in the army gear – this time driving a gray Volkswagen Golf.

The car used by the suspect in video obtained by CNN is registered to the town of Euskirchen, North Rhine-Westfalia, roughly 424 kilometers from Halle.

Another witness, who did not want to be named, told CNN they also saw a gray car driving away from the synagogue at high speed.

The employee at a nearby business, which has a clear view of the synagogue, also said they heard several shots around 12:15 pm local time.

Car hijacking

Following the incidents, a car was later hijacked in the town of Queis, around 14 kilometers from Halle, according to authorities.

Two people were injured in the hijacking, said local mayor Anja Werner. She said there was no further details on the suspects or what type of car was involved.

Earlier on Wednesday the European Commission in Brussels held a minute’s silence in honor of the victims in Halle.

Halle’s central train station has also been closed, railway company Deutsche Bahn said.