German synagogue attacker used gun manual from UK enthusiast Philip Luty
by Oliver Moody
The gunman who killed two people near a synagogue in Germany used an automatic weapon he built following a manual by a British gun-rights activist that remains available on the internet.
The German government is facing criticism from Jewish groups over its failure to provide adequate police protection on Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the year in Judaism.
Stephan Balliet, 27, tried to force entry into the synagogue in Halle, central Germany, with a crude firearm and homemade explosives but could not break the reinforced doors.
He murdered a passing middle-aged woman who criticised him for making too much noise as he attempted to blast his way into the neighbouring Jewish cemetery, shooting her in the back with a sub-machinegun that he built following the manual. He also shot dead a man in a nearby kebab shop. Two others suffered gun wounds.
The attacker fled after hijacking a taxi in a nearby village and driving about 40 miles south along the A9 autobahn until he was rammed by a lorry and arrested.
Using a camera mounted on his Kevlar helmet, the gunman broadcast the rampage to 2,200 viewers on Amazon’s Twitch, a gaming website, for half an hour until the video was taken down.
There were indications that he considered himself to be part of the international white supremacist movement rather than a member of a German neo-Nazi group.
Days before the attack at lunchtime on Wednesday, Balliet posted a mission statement in English on a chat forum for gaming fans. The document presents no ideological justification for the murders but contains in-jokes associated with the alt-right.
The telecoms technician, who lived with his mother in Helbra, 20 miles west of Halle, claimed to have planned the killing spree for months. He said his objectives were to show other extremists that it was possible to carry out a massacre with “improvised” weapons, and to kill “as many anti-whites as possible, Jews preferred”.
He identified his sub-machinegun as a Luty SMG Parabellum he had built himself. It was based on a design by Philip Luty, a Leeds-based gun enthusiast also known as the Home Gunsmith, who was imprisoned for publishing gun-making instructions and died of cancer in 2011. Luty developed firearms that could be manufactured from off-the-shelf materials without ready-made components or specialist tools such as a lathe or milling machine.
Angela Merkel, 65, said yesterday that she was “shocked and heavy hearted” and vowed to combat “hatred, violence and inhumane actions”.
However, leaders of European and German Jewish groups sharply reprimanded her administration for leaving synagogues unprotected, months after the chancellor had warned that every Jewish institution needed security.
Moshe Kantor, 66, president of the European Jewish Congress, said: “While we have confidence in the commitment of the German government to the fight against antisemitism, there are still serious security gaps. The authorities have the prime responsibility and duty to protect all their citizens.”