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Man shouts ‘Free Palestine’ and fires shotgun outside Albany synagogue

A deranged man shouting “Liberate Palestine” fired a shotgun outside an Albany synagogue on Thursday, ruining the start of Hanukkah and putting state troopers and the New York National Guard on high alert.

The 28-year-old gunman, who has not been identified, was taken into custody shortly after the shooting outside Temple Israel in the Empire State's capital around 2 p.m., police said.

“I am immediately directing the New York State Police and the New York National Guard to be on high alert and will increase patrols of dangerous locations planned for the Chanukah holiday,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement.

“This builds on the tremendous efforts we have made to protect religious communities following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas,” Hochul said. “Make no mistake about it: The safety of Jewish New Yorkers is non-negotiable.”

Police said the gunman fired two shots and confronted a man who was shouting anti-Israel statements.

“The suspect was confronting another subject at a nearby property,” Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins said at a news conference. “The suspect basically made a statement to this person who was in the car to the effect that he felt he was being victimized.”

Hawkins said the man was taken into custody and “is currently being interviewed by our detectives working with FBI personnel.”


On Thursday, the first day of Hanukkah, a 28-year-old man fired a shotgun outside the Temple Israel synagogue in Albany and shouted “Liberate Palestine,” putting the state on high alert, police said. AP

Officials said the man fired two shots into a nearby wooded area.

The shooting is just the latest in a series of troubling anti-Semitic incidents in the province since the October 7 attack by militants that triggered Israeli retaliatory attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement Thursday night that the NYPD is already on high alert as Hanukkah begins and anti-Semitic tensions threaten to disrupt the holiday.

“As our Jewish neighbors begin to celebrate Hanukkah tonight, the New York City Police Department has been and continues to be on heightened alert to ensure the safety of New Yorkers,” Adams said in a statement.

“As the holidays begin, the NYPD is implementing pre-planned measures to increase security at public menorah displays and all lighting events,” he said. “Everyone in our city has the right to practice their faith in peace, and we will work to ensure that right is protected.”

The Albany shooting was quickly condemned by other police departments.

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said, “Today's incident is a reminder of why we must do more to protect all New Yorkers from hate,” calling the incident “abhorrent.” He said that.

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