Xenophobia

Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue


The shooting happened at the Tree of Life Congregation in a leafy suburb of Pittsburgh, in the heart of its Jewish community. President Donald Trump was quick to insist that tougher gun laws would have made little difference but the latest attack will also fuel fears that religious and race hate is on the rise during a fraught period of divisive politics.

Local media and CNN reported that at least four people were killed and 12 shot and three officers injured responding to an active shooting incident at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday. The Telegraph.co.uk says that a gunman burst into an American synagogue during a circumcision ceremony, shooting dead at least 10 people (reported https://www.telegraph.co.uk). About 100 people we in the synagogue at the time. It was not known if the baby being circumcised, during a ceremony known as a bris, was harmed.

Wendell Hissrich, the public safety director for Pittsburgh, said detectives were sifting the site for evidence.

“It’s a very horrific crime scene. It’s one of the worst I’ve seen – and I’ve been on plane crashes,” he told a news conference.

Stephen Weiss, who was in a service at the synagogue at the time, described how members of the congregation fled and hid in the basement.

“It sounded like a loud crash in the hallway,” he said, describing rapid gunfire that sounded like an automatic weapon.

Mr Weiss told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that when he got to the basement he found other members of the congregation also hiding there.

Robert Bowers 46, wielding an arsenal that included a semi-automatic rifle and handguns, yelled “All Jews must die” during the attack.

Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday that the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue had little to do with gun laws and that had there been protection inside the temple “the results would have been different”.

In January, an account linked to Mr. Bowers was created on Gab, a social network that bills itself as a haven for free speech. The app, which grew out of claims of anti-conservative bias on Facebook and Twitter, is a popular gathering place for alt-right activists and white nationalists whose views are unwelcome on other services.


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