Five stabbed in 'cowardly' attack on New York Hanukkah celebration

Monday, 30 Dec, 2019

Authorities said the assailant was arrested in New York City's Manhattan borough after fleeing from the scene in the small town of Monsey by vehicle, but have given no other details on the suspect.

The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council and the Ramapo Police Department report at least five stabbing victims.

The police department confirmed that five people were stabbed and said the investigation was ongoing.

According to eyewitnesses, the man's face was covered by a scarf as he slashed and stabbed at ultra-Orthodox attendees at the intimate gathering, who threw chairs and tables at him and whisked children away to safety. The rabbi led the service at the synagogue later, he said.

Aron Kohn told The New York Times he was inside the residence during the stabbings.

The attack took place during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, as Rabbi Rottenberg was hosting around 100 people in his home for the lighting of the candle marking the seventh night of the holiday.

Rockland has the largest Jewish population per capita of any U.S. county, with 31.4 percent, or 90,000 Jewish residents.

The stabbings occurred a month after a man was stabbed while walking to a Monsey synagogue.

Two of the victims were still in hospital, police said.

Cuomo acknowledged the increasing rate of incidents against Jewish people in his state, citing the number of events over the last week.

The attacks are symptoms of "an American cancer that is spreading in the body politic", the governor said.

NY is going to change the way acts of domestic terrorism are prosecuted following the incident.

London police said they were investigating the racially motivated hate crime after being informed on Saturday night. "It is mass violence and I consider this an act of domestic terrorism", Cuomo added.

"I ran into the other room to save my life".

Top state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Leticia James, released statements condemning the attack.

Thomas' criminal history includes an arrest for assaulting a police horse, according to an official briefed on the investigation.

A report in April from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) stated that the number of anti-Semitic attacks in 2018 was close to the record of 2017, with 1,879 incidents. He entered a not guilty plea, the report said.

Police have not indicated whether they were investigating the violence as an anti-Semitic hate crime, but the NY area has recently seen a series of high profile attacks against its Jewish community, including a shooting rampage in Jersey City, New Jersey, earlier this month. "They are trying to inflict fear", Cuomo told reporters. He is now being held at the Rockland County Jail.

Orthodox Jews listen to N.Y. state Assemblyman Dov Hikind speak in Monsey, N.Y., on December 29, 2019, following a stabbing late Saturday during a Hanukkah celebration.

Jewish communities in the New York City metro area have been troubled following a deadly Dec 10 shooting rampage at a northern New Jersey kosher market.

After the attacker fled the home, he attempted to break into a neighboring synagogue, but found the doors locked after worshippers barred themselves inside.