BERLIN — The police locked down the center of the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday, warning citizens to stay at home while they searched for attackers who fatally shot at least two people near a synagogue during services for Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. German press reports said at least one gunman had opened fire at the synagogue in what was feared to have been a premeditated anti-Semitic attack.
The assailants fled in a vehicle, the Halle police said, as they cordoned off the synagogue and blocked major arteries in the city. They later reported the arrest of one suspect. The identities of the victims and the total number of attackers were not immediately clear.
“Several shots were fired,” the Halle police said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Germany’s federal prosecutor took over the investigation into the attack, a spokeswoman said, a step indicating that the authorities were treating it as politically motivated.
A witness to the shooting, which took place in broad daylight, told local broadcaster MDR that he had seen a gunman dressed in military gear and armed with several weapons firing at the synagogue.