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Worshipper stabbed at NY synagogue

09 December 2014, 17:37

Washington - A Jewish worshipper was stabbed in the head while praying early Tuesday at a synagogue in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, police said.

The attacker was later shot by police and died on arrival at a hospital. The victim, an Israeli student stabbed in the side of the face, was being treated, said NYPD spokesman Adam Navarro.

The attack happened at the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters in the Crown Heights district of Brooklyn at around 1:40 am (0640 GMT) but does not appear to be a hate crime, 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, Navarro said.

Also read: Church of Satan opens for worshippers

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

Rabbi Moni Ender, a spokesman for the Chabad Lubavitch community in Israel, told Israeli military radio the attack did not appear to stem from anti-Semitism.

"We can say with 98 percent certainty that it was not a pre-meditated act of hatred or motivated by nationalism," he said.

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

"Apparently there was an argument during which the attacker pulled out a kitchen knife and told the Jewish student he was going to kill him," the rabbi said.

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.



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