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Halle gunman posted video on Twitch livestream platform

The gunman in Wednesday's deadly shooting in the German city of Halle posted a video of the attack on the Twitch livestream platform owned by Amazon, the company said.

Halle gunman posted video on Twitch livestream platform
Police in Halle after the shooting. Photo: DPA

“We are shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place in Germany today, and our deepest condolences go out to all those affected,” a Twitch spokesperson said after the shooting at a synagogue and a Turkish restaurant.

“Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against hateful conduct, and any act of violence is taken extremely seriously. We worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or
reposting content of this abhorrent act.”

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The news comes months after a deadly New Zealand mosque shooting livestreamed on Facebook, which prompted governments to press social networks to prevent the airing of violent acts on their platforms.

Two people dead

At least two people were shot dead in the German city of Halle on Wednesday in an anti-Semitic attack as Jews marked the holy day of Yom Kippur.

One suspect was arrested, police said, as security was ramped up in synagogues and other Jewish sites across Germany.

In a copy of a 35-minute video obtained by AFP but whose authenticity has not been confirmed by police, the gunman filmed himself launching into a diatribe against women and Jews, before carrying out the attack, in a disturbing repeat of the modus operandi of the attacker in the Christchurch mosque assault earlier this year.

‘The attack started at around noon local time in the city's Humboldtstrasse, which houses the synagogue and Jewish cemetery.

Witnesses reported that a gunman, wearing a helmet mounted with a camera and military-style clothing, attempted to break into the synagogue and then shot a female passerby.

In the video, the gunman speaking in heavily German-accented English launched into a diatribe against Jews, claiming that the Holocaust never existed.

He was then seen trying to force open the synagogue door before shooting a woman dead. He then flung an explosive at the gate of the Jewish cemetery but failed to break it open.

The man was then seen in the footage shooting at a patron of a kebab shop about 600 metres away from the synagogue.

Witness Conrad Rössler earlier told news channel NTV he was in the Turkish kebab shop when “a man wearing a helmet and military uniform” tossed a hand grenade.

“The grenade hit the door and exploded,” he said.

“(The attacker) shot at least once in the shop, the man behind me must be dead. I hid in the toilet and locked the door.”

German anti-terrorist prosecutors confirmed have taken over the case.

The footage has been removed from the Twitch website.

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TERRORISM

German man jailed for life over deadly anti-Semitic rampage

A German court on Monday handed down a life sentence to the assailant behind a deadly far-right attack last year that nearly became the country's worst anti-Semitic atrocity since World War II.

German man jailed for life over deadly anti-Semitic rampage
Stephan Balliet (R) who shot dead two people after an attempt to storm a synagogue in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany. AFP

A bolted door at the synagogue in the eastern city of Halle with 52 worshippers inside marking Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, was the only thing that prevented the heavily armed attacker from carrying out a planned bloodbath.

After failing to storm the temple on October 9, 2019, Stephan Balliet, 28, shot dead a female passer-by and a man at a kebab shop.

During his five-month trial, Balliet denied the Holocaust in open court — a crime in Germany — and expressed no remorse to those targeted, many of whom were co-plaintiffs in the case.

“The attack on the synagogue in Halle was one of the most repulsive anti-Semitic acts since World War II,” prosecutor Kai Lohse told the court in the nearby city of Magdeburg as the trial wrapped up.

The prosecution had demanded a life sentence for Balliet. The defence team asked presiding judge Ursula Mertens only for a “fair sentence”.

A lawyer for nine of the co-plaintiffs, Mark Lupschitz, told AFP early Monday the trial had been “fair” and called the proceedings both “stressful and empowering” for the intended victims. 

During the trial, Balliet insisted that “attacking the synagogue was not a mistake, they are my enemies”.

Dressed in military garb, he filmed the attack and broadcast it on the internet, prefacing it with a manifesto espousing his misogynist, neo-fascist ideology.

Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, called the attack “a very, very alarming moment in German history”.

“If that guy would have been able to get into a synagogue… it would have had a tremendous impact on German identity after the war and the fight against anti-Semitism,” he told AFP in an interview.

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