HALLE, Germany – German investigators puzzled Thursday over how the suspect in a botched attack on a synagogue on Judaism's holiest day managed to amass nearly 9 pounds of explosives and acquire four firearms, an arsenal they said he planned to use in a massacre.
While many questions remain about the suspect, German officials sought to reassure a shaken Jewish community after Wednesday's attack in the eastern city of Halle. They invoked Germany's historical responsibility from the Holocaust as they vowed better security and urged the nation to stand behind its Jews.
The attacker, a German identified by prosecutors as Stephan B., tried but failed to force his way into the synagogue as up to 80 people were inside.
He then shot and killed a 40-year-old German woman in the street outside and a 20-year-old man at a nearby kebab shop.
He fled the city, wounding another two people in a small town near Halle where he abandoned his car and driving onward in a stolen taxi. He was arrested about 11/2 hours after the attack as he got out of the taxi, which had been in a crash.
“What we experienced yesterday was terror,” said Peter Frank, Germany's chief federal prosecutor. “The suspect, Stephan B., aimed to carry out a massacre in the synagogue in Halle.”
Frank said the weapons were “apparently homemade” and the explosives were in “numerous devices” found in the car.
The suspect livestreamed the attack on a popular gaming site while ranting in English about Jews and denying the Holocaust, and posted a “manifesto” online before embarking on it.