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Anti-Semitic shooter kills 11 Jewish worshipers in U.S.

Police deployed at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Photo: Reuters

Police deployed at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.   Photo: Reuters

Pittsburgh, October 29 (RHC)-- In the U.S. city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a 46-year-old white man carried out what is being described as deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.  On Saturday, Robert Bowers stormed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, yelling “All Jews must die” as he opened fire on worshipers preparing for Shabbat services.

According to reports, SWAT officers arrived on the scene of carnage and detained Bowers after a shootout about 20 minutes after the rampage began. Bowers had an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle and at least three handguns at the time of his arrest.

The victims at the synagogue ranged from 54 to 97 years in age.  Six others were injured, including four policemen.

Just before the shooting rampage, the gunman Robert Bowers wrote on a far-right social media site: ”HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”  HIAS refers to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a humanitarian aid nonprofit group that has provided assistance to refugees for more than 130 years.

Last month, HIAS condemned President Trump for capping the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. this year at just 30,000, writing: “President Trump has once again betrayed America’s history and global leadership in providing safe haven for innocent human beings fleeing violence and persecution.”  

On Saturday, President Trump said that the shooter should face the death penalty, and claimed that if there had been armed guards inside the synagogue, the results would have been different.

In related news, a group of Jewish leaders has told Donald Trump that he is no longer welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism.  Eleven members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice wrote a letter to Trump that reads in part: “Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted. … You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.” 

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
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