Germany: Halle terrorist charged with double murder and 68 counts of attempted murder
The German right-wing extremist who killed two people last October near a synagogue in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, has been charged with double murder, 68 counts of attempted murder, incitement of hatred and other felonies. The Federal Prosecutor announced the indictment yesterday, according to Deutsche-Presse Agentur.
Stephan Balliet, who was 27 at the time, committed the attack near a synagogue on the most important Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, because he was convinced the doors of the synagogue would be open to all on that day; that was not the case, and so he did not manage to get inside with his handmade explosives and firearms. There were 52 believers inside the building at the time.
Near the synagogue, however, Balliet shot and killed a 40-year-old woman with multiple gunshots and then a 20-year-old man in a nearby kebab stand after the man begged for his life. The attacker recorded his actions with a video camera installed in the helmet he was wearing and broadcast the footage through the Internet.
After his failed attempt at attacking the synagogue, he fled the scene of the crime, leaving his car in a small town near Halle and stealing a taxi. He injured two people during that auto theft.
Police arrested him about a half an hour later after he crashed the taxi and fled the scene of the accident. The attack sparked concern in Germany about antisemitism and extremist-motivated violence, the Associated Press reports.
Balliet testified that he had originally wanted to attack Muslims, but then decided to target Jews because they were, to his mind, "the biggest problem" for "dissatisfied white men" such as he considered himself to be. It is not yet clear when his trial will begin.
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