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US: 11 killed as gunman opens fire at Pittsburgh synagogue, Trump condemns attack as ‘devastating’

The suspect was taken into custody after the attack at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue at Squirrel Hill area in Pittsburgh. He was identified by a law enforcement official as Robert Bowers (46).

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 28, 2018 8:00:05 am
US: Gunman kills at least 8, injures 12 in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting First responders surround the Tree of Life Synagogue, rear center, in Pittsburgh, where a shooter opened fire Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, wounding three police officers and causing “multiple casualties” according to Police. (AP Photo)

At least 11 people were killed and several others injured after a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue during Sabbath religious services on Saturday, in the deadliest “anti-Semitic attack” in America in years, reports PTI. The suspect was taken into custody after the attack at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue at Squirrel Hill area in Pittsburgh. He was identified by a law enforcement official as Robert Bowers (46).

Local media reports said that 11 people have been killed while six others including three policemen injured in the incident, though officials are yet to come out with an official toll. The shooter who was described as a white, heavy set with beard, was being questioned and treated at hospital. The FBI is investigating this as a “hate crime”. Before opening fire, he reportedly yelled, “All Jews must die!”

A large number of people had gathered for a morning service at the synagogue when the shooting took place. The motive was not immediately known.

US: Gunman kills at least 8, injures 12 in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting Law enforcement officers secure the scene where multiple people were shot, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. (AP)

President Donald Trump told reporters at the airport in Indianapolis that there were “a lot of people killed” and “a lot of people very badly wounded.” He condemned the attack and described this as a devastating situation. “Events in Pittsburgh are far more devastating than originally thought,” Trump said as he reiterated that those responsible for such mass shooting be given death penalty.

Trump also ordered that American flags be flown at half-staff.

US: Gunman kills at least 8, injures 12 in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting The shooting was being investigated as a federal hate crime, city officials were quoted as saying by AP.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the attack and said: “I was heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue today”. According to NBC news, shooter Bowers was armed with an AR-15 style rifle in addition to multiple handguns. In his multiple social media accounts, Bowers showed his anti-Jew sentiment in particular vented his anger against Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society or HIAS.

“HIAS likes to bring invaders to kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughters. Screw your optics, I am going in,” he said on the social media platform Gab, an alternative version of Twitter. In another Gab message, Bowers said that he did not vote for Trump, nor did he ever wore a cap of MAGA (make America great again).

The ‘hate crime’ comes days after recovery of a series of package bombs sent to several present and former high-ranking officials. Prominent among them include former president Barack Obama, ex-vice president Joe Biden, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Indian-origin US Senator Kamala Harris.

-With PTI inputs

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