UPDATES WITH STATEMENTS FROM JUSTICE MINISTER, ADDS MORE BACKGROUND
BERLIN (AA) - A neo-Nazi who killed two people in eastern Germany Wednesday originally planned to storm a mosque, according to a manifesto apparently written by him and posted online.
Stephan Balliet, 27, tried to enter a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle apparently to commit a mass shooting, but was blocked by tight security. He later killed a woman on the street as well as a man in a nearby Turkish doner restaurant.
“I originally planned to storm a mosque or an antifa ‘culture’ center, which are way less defended,” he said in the manifesto posted online on the internet.
Police are investigating the authenticity of the manifesto, which includes detailed notes on the targeted synagogue and a nearby Jewish cemetery as well as photos of various guns and homemade explosives he planned to use in the attacks.
The neo-Nazi killer said he deliberately chose Judaism’s holiest day Yom Kippur for the attack, arguing that “even ‘non-religious’ Jews are often visiting the synagogue” on this date.
The far-right extremist livestreamed the attack with a head-mounted camera on video platform Twitch.tv.
He fled the scene in a car but arrested a few hours later after he got involved in a road accident.
German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht condemned the murders and attack against the synagogue, and pledged to take more serious measures to better protect Jews and Jewish institutions in the country.
“The right-wing extremism is becoming more aggressive, more violence-oriented in this country,” she told a news conference in Karlsruhe.
“This is one of the biggest threats we face today. Therefore we must fight with this threat by every possible means under the rule of law, we should all act in a responsible manner,” she added.