An attacker has stabbed five people late at a Hasidic rabbi’s home in New York state and fled before apparently being arrested, a Jewish organisation says.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said on Twitter an attacker wearing a scarf stabbed the victims at a house in Monsey, Rockland County, about 50 kilometres north of New York City.
All five victims were taken to hospitals, the council said, adding that two of the victims were critical, with one of them stabbed at least six times.
“The suspect fled the scene, but he is in custody at this time,” the Ramapo Police Department said in a Facebook post.
5 people wounded in stabbing attack in #US synagogue
A suspect entered a synagogue known as Rabbi Rottenburg’s Shul, and pulled out a machete, which he used to stab people.#NY Police said a suspect has been arrested.
— EHA News (@eha_news) December 29, 2019
The police department confirmed that five people were stabbed and said the investigation was ongoing. It did not provide further details.
OJPAC official Yossi Gestetner told the New York Times the attack happened at around 10pm during a Hanukkah celebration attended by many dozens of people at the rabbi’s home.
About a third of the population of Rockland County is Jewish, including a large enclave of Orthodox Jews who live in secluded communities.
— OJPAC Hudson Valley Region (@OJPACHV) December 29, 2019
New York City’s police department said on Friday its officers were stepping up patrols in heavily Jewish neighbourhoods following a spate of anti-Semitic attacks.
“Hate doesn’t have a home in our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter, calling the assaults attacks on all New Yorkers.
In more deadly recent attacks, a gunman killed a female rabbi and wounded three people during Sabbath services at Congregation Chabad in Poway, near San Diego, on the last day of Passover in April 2019.
Six months before that, a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.