Man stabbed at New York synagogue in possible anti-Semitic attack

AFP| Last Updated: Dec 09, 2014, 21:14 PM IST

A knife-wielding man, heard saying "Kill the Jews," stabbed a Jewish worshipper in the face in an Orthodox synagogue early Tuesday before being shot dead by police, synagogue officials said.

The victim, Israeli rabbinical student Levi Rosenblat, was in stable condition, Rabbi Motti Seligson from Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters said in a statement.

Seligson said witnesses heard the assailant repeatedly saying "Kill the Jews," during the early morning attack.

Police told AFP they had heard reports of anti-Semitic remarks and the department`s hate crimes unit was investigating.

The attack occurred at 1:40 am (0640 GMT) in the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters in the Crown Heights district of Brooklyn, said a spokesman for the Chabad Lubavitch community, an Orthodox branch of Judaism.

Police who rushed to the scene told the assailant to drop the knife, which had a 9-inch (23 cm) blade. Instead, he lunged at officers and was shot once in the torso, New York police spokesman Adam Navarro said.

He said the attacker was a 49-year-old black male and that the motive was not immediately clear.

Video on a web site for the Jewish community in Crown Heights, www.crownheights.info, shows the assailant arguing with men in the synagogue while holding the knife in what appears to be an office area of the synagogue.

He is wearing dark pants, tennis shoes, a waste-length jacket and a knit cap.

A burly police officer is later seen pointing a handgun at the man and screaming at him to drop the knife. The man puts it down, but later picks it up again and moves toward the officer.

A single shot is then heard but the footage does not capture the man actually being shot. It resumes with police treating the attacker as he lay on the ground.

The synagogue is open 24 hours a day and at night homeless people go inside to get warm, he said.