Several dead after gunman opens fire in Pittsburgh synagogue

By Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

Several people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, in what members of the Jewish community have called an anti-semitic attack.

A further six people were injured. Three of them were police officers shot during a shootout with the gunman, police said.

Local broadcaster KDKA reported eight people were dead after the shooter, identified as Robert Bowers, walked into the synagogue early on Saturday shouting “all Jews must die” and opened fire on worshippers.


The synagogue is located in Squirrel Hill, a Pittsburgh neighbourhood with a large Jewish population. Between 50 and 60 worshippers would be there on an average Saturday morning, Jeff Finkelstein, a spokesman of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, said at the scene.

Finkelstein said around 50 per cent of Pittsburgh’s Jews lived in the neighbourhood where the crime took place.

The suspect was taken into police custody after a shootout with local authorities, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said. Police said the incident was being investigated by the FBI at the federal level.

Israeli and Jewish officials expressed their shock at the shooting, which they largely saw as an attack on the Jewish community.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned what he called “horrendous anti-Semitic brutality,” adding that the “entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead.”

Following the Pittsburgh attack, Israel’s Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett said he would fly to Pittsburgh to visit the scene of the attack, meet the local community and attend the funerals of the victims.

Shortly after the shooting, US President Donald Trump pushed for more armed protection to prevent such attacks, saying an armed guard on site would have made the outcome “far better.”


“If they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a much different situation,” said Trump, who has advocated for arming guards and other officials at schools and other public sites. In contrast, the state’s governor responded with a condemnation of US gun policy.

“We have been saying ‘this one is too many’ for far too long. Dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way,” Wolf, a democrat, said at the scene.

The shooting comes days after a far-right attack in which packages containing pipe bombs were sent to several Trump critics and prominent left wing figures.

Police later arrested a man, revealed to be a Trump supporter, in Florida after packages were sent to high-profile Democrats including former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former vice president Joe Biden.


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