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An attacker stabbed eight people with a hunting knife in a synagogue in central Moscow Wednesday
An attacker stabbed eight people with a hunting knife in a synagogue in central Moscow Wednesday, Moscow Prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev said. The shaven-headed attacker, 20-year old Muscovite Alexander Koptsev, rushed into the synagogue shouting, "I came to kill you," witnesses said. Four people, including the synagogue's Rabbi, were left in a serious condition, the NTV television channel said. The Rabbi was taken to hospital and was undergoing surgery, Borukh Gorin, a spokesman for the Federation of Russia's Jewish Communities, said. Three foreigners, an American, an Israeli and a Tajik citizens, were also among the injured, according to the Prosecutor's Office. Gorin condemned the attacker as a Nazi. "It [Nazism] should be eradicated," Gorin said. He also said the Federation would boost security measures in synagogues across Russia. The Federation's press service said Russia's Chief Rabbi, currently on a private visit to Israel, would cut his visit short and return to Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church also condemned the attack. "The law enforcement agencies, the authorities and the public at large should make every effort to prevent such attacks," a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchy said. A senior Moscow police officer said Koptsev did not belong to any radical nationalist organization. "The information about Alexander Koptsev's involvement in national organizations does not correspond to reality," he said. He also said Koptsev had never been arrested before and started leading a secluded life after a tragedy in his family. A source close to investigators said Koptsev would undergo a psychiatric examination. The Moscow Prosecutor's Office said extra security measures were being taken at another synagogue in central Moscow. Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy said it had approached Russia's Foreign Ministry in the wake of the attack, demanding to ensure security for the local Jewish community. "Events in Moscow have aroused grave concerns. Our embassy has approached the Russian Foreign Ministry, demanding to ensure the Jewish community's security and prevent anti-Semitic acts," embassy press secretary Mikhail Brodsky said. He said Israel's Foreign Ministry had instructed the ambassador in Moscow to obtain full information on the attack.
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