On Saturday a 46-year-old American was charged after killing 11 people and injuring six in a Pittsburgh synagogue, committing the most serious anti-Semitic attack in recent US history.
The gunman, identified by the authorities as Robert Bowers, burst shortly before 10 am local time in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He shouted “All Jews must die,” according to media reports, and began shooting at the faithful gathered on this Sabbath day, the weekly Jewish rest, for a ceremony marking the birth of a child.
Arrested after an exchange of fire with the police, Bowers was transferred to the hospital.
It will be prosecuted, among other things, for antisemitic crime and will be punishable by death, said US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The federal court soon charged the gunman with 29 counts, including 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder and 11 counts of obstructing the practice of a religion that resulted in death. .
President Donald Trump denounced “an evil action of mass murder,” and his daughter Ivanka, who is converted to Judaism, said, “America is stronger than the acts of a perverse and sectarian anti-Semite.”
“There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism or any form of religious hatred,” said Trump.
“We must stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters to defeat anti-Semitism and hate forces,” the president said at an Illinois election rally in preparation for the mid-term elections in New York. November 6th.
Mr. Trump announced that he would soon be going to Pittsburgh. And he ordered the half-masting of American flags until October 31 as a sign of “solemn respect” for the victims.
“The service was going on when we heard a loud noise,” 60-year-old Stephen Weiss told the Tribune Review . “I recognized gun shots.”
In addition to the 11 dead, six people were injured, including four among the police. No children were killed.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a leading anti-Semitism organization in the US, said it was “likely” to “attack the deadliest Jewish community in US history.” United “.
Upon arrival at the scene, the police had to open fire to apprehend Bowers, who had an assault rifle and at least three handguns when he entered the synagogue, authorities said.
A scene “terrible”
“The scene is terrible inside,” Pittsburgh Public Security Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters, visibly emotional.
“It’s one of the worst crime scenes I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been on plane crashes,” he said.
Tribute have been organized near the synagogue. Candles in hand, dozens of residents of Pittsburgh gathered.
Local residents came out of their homes to bring coffee to the police who were standing in the rain preventing access to the scene of the attack.
The Tree of Life congregation was founded 150 years ago in Pittsburgh. The synagogue is located in Squirrel Hill, home to the heart of the important Jewish community in this Pennsylvania city.
The FBI said Bowers was not known to police. But he is apparently the author of a series of antisemitic posts online, including on the site Gab.com, launched in 2016 and prized by the far-right American movement “alt-right”. The social network announced to be forced to stop its activity, its internet service provider ending its services from Monday.
A quote at the top of the Bowers page stated: “Jews are children of Satan,” according to screenshots of his account, now suspended, carried out by the SITE group, which monitors extremist movements.
The Pittsburgh attack came in a very tense climate in the United States, both in the political debate and in society.
In the previous week, the country was anxious by sending potentially explosive packages to Democratic figures, while Donald Trump is regularly accused by his detractors of blowing on the embers by employing a rhetoric of division.
The Pittsburgh killings have provoked many reactions abroad. The first Israeli Benyamin Netanyahu deplored a “horrible anti-Semitic” attack. Berlin, Ottawa, Paris and the UN also condemned the attack.
Katie Tachuck is a reporter for News Lair. After graduating from UCLA, Katie got an internship at a local radio station and worked as a investigative journalist and producer. Katie has also worked as a columnist for the The Santa Fe New Mexican. Katie covers economy and community events for News Lair.