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April 22, 2020 10:26 am

Neo-Nazi Who Attacked German Synagogue on Yom Kippur Charged With Double Murder

avatar by Ben Cohen

Police officers are seen at the site of a shooting, in which two people were killed, near a synagogue in Halle, Germany, Oct. 9, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Hannibal Hanschke.

The German neo-Nazi who attempted to massacre worshippers at a Yom Kippur service in the city of Halle last October has been formally charged with double murder and attempted murder.

The office of Germany’s federal prosecutor released the charge sheet against gunman Stephan Balliet — referred to in the court papers as “Stephan B.” — on Tuesday afternoon, noting that he had “planned an assassination attempt on fellow citizens of the Jewish faith based on an antisemitic, racist and xenophobic sentiment.”

The prosecutor’s statement recalled that Balliet had driven to the synagogue on Halle’s Humboldtstrasse just before noon on Oct. 9, 2019, as 52 worshippers inside the sanctuary held religious services to mark Judaism’s holiest day.

The 27-year-old neo-Nazi had armed himself with eight firearms, several explosive devices, a helmet and a protective vest.

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Having failed to break through the synagogue’s locked entrance despite exploding a grenade, a frustrated Balliet shot dead a 40-year-old female passerby. After additional violent attempts to force his way inside similarly failed, Balliet left the synagogue in his car.

He then drove to his next target — a small kebab restaurant where four diners and an employee were present. Balliet shot dead a 20-year-old man at the restaurant, believing him to be a Muslim.

Balliet was apprehended by police about an hour later, after he crashed his vehicle in a panicked attempt to flee the city.

In addition to the double murder charge, Balliet has been charged with the attempted murder of 68 people, dangerous bodily harm and attempted robbery. A date for his trial is still to be set.

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