A shooting that took place in Jersey City on Tuesday that killed six is now being investigated as “acts of hate” and “domestic terrorism,” according to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

While initially hesitant to ascribe motive, authorities and politicians have now decisively labeled Tuesday’s attack as anti-Semitic. The two suspects in the shooting, David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, are believed to have deliberately targeted the Jewish community and law enforcement.

“We believe that the suspects held views that reflected hatred of the Jewish people as well as a hatred of law enforcement,” Grewal said on Thursday. “The evidence points towards acts of hate. I can confirm that we are investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism, fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs.”

Social media posts tied to Anderson showed a range of anti-Semitic ideas and theories, and appeared to support violence against police officers, NBC News reported.

On Tuesday morning, Anderson and Graham fatally shot Jersey City detective Joseph Seals, 40, after he approached their stolen U-Haul van because it was linked to a weekend homicide in Bayonne.

The suspects then drove the van to a kosher market in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Greenville, walked in and began shooting, killing three victims within minutes before law enforcement arrived and engaged in an hours-long standoff, eventually killing the shooters.

The victims from the store were Mindy Ferencz, 31, who owned the kosher market with her husband, store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49, and Moshe Deutsch, 24, a deli customer, rabbinical student and the son of Brooklyn Jewish community leader Abe Deutsch. Moshe Deutsch and Ferencz were members of the Orthodox Jewish faith.

Authorities said the attack could have been much worse, and Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop said he thought the shooters may have been targeting a yeshiva school next door, and that he believes the shooters intended to kill many more people.

“This is a horrible tragedy but even in so much darkness with lives lost there is some light in that without question had the bravery/quick response of the police not trapped them in the store this could have been much much worse,” Fulop tweeted.

Police recovered five firearms, one from the U-Haul van and four in the supermarket, and also discovered a pipe bomb in the truck.

Anderson was an Army veteran with a long criminal history, and had been arrested five times since 2003 for charges related to weapons and domestic violence, according to court records. At the time of the shooting, Anderson and Graham were living in a van, after being evicted from the townhouse they shared.

Tuesday’s tragedy follows the October 2018 attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh which became the deadliest attack against Jews in America after a gunman killed 11 worshippers.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey rose 32% in 2017 and has remained high since then, making New Jersey the state with the third highest number of reported incidents, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual report. Nationally, incidents rose 57% in 2017, and in 2018 the number of incidents remained high, with the number of assaults against Jews more than doubling.

“Acts of violence like this are unfortunately, too common in our society today and should be condemned by all,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane in a statement. “We call upon local and state authorities to increase efforts and resources to combat anti-Semitism.”

Hate-crime violence in general reached a 16-year high in 2018, according to the F.B.I., with many of these incidents taking place in major cities.

The shooters are now prime suspects in the death of Michael Rumberger, 34, who was found dead Saturday with head trauma in Bayonne.

On Thursday, Israeli authorities banned Christians in the Gaza Strip from visiting Israel and the occupied West Bank, which contain holy cities including Bethlehem and Jerusalem, for Christmas this year.

Last year, Israel gave out 700 permits for Gazan Christians to travel to holy cities during the holiday season. Israel argues that Palestinians from Gaza often illegally overstay their permits. But Gazans say they just want to see their families and be able to visit important holy sites.

Gazan Christians will still be granted permits to travel abroad, but these permits will not allow them to enter Israel or the occupied West Bank. Christian leaders in Jerusalem are asking Israeli authorities to reverse the decision.

WHAT THE LEFT IS SAYING: NYC Councilman Chaim Deutsch: “A devastating update on the Jersey City shooting. Additional information released this morning indicates that yesterday’s attack was targeted against the Jewish community. We’ve been sounding the alarm about rising anti-Semitism for years. Was anyone listening?”

WHAT THE RIGHT IS SAYING: 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Walsh: “Rest In Peace Officer.”

Written ByGrace Symes

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