"This incident will only encourage and strengthen the shluchim all over Russia to increase undauntedly their Shlichus activities all over Russia," the head shaliach and Chief Rabbi of Moscow told Shturem.net last night.
Rabbi Lazar who was in Israel to attend the wedding of Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar's daughter in Jeursalem was forced to fly back to Russia in middle of the wedding because of the incident. The thousands of guests who came to the wedding were surprised to see a battery of reporters and camera men from every major news agency in Israel and the world interviewing Rabbi Lazar at the entrance of the Great Synagogue where the wedding was held.
According to the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia , the incident happened during evening prayers at the synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya street near the centre of Moscow.
Eyewitnesses say a man wielding a knife burst into the building at 17:20 local time and began stabbing people indiscriminately. He reportedly shouted “I’ve come to kill you!”
He was eventually wrestled to the ground by the synagogue’s rabbi Yitzhak Kogan and the rabbi’s son. The police arrived and arrested the attacker who was later identified as 20 year old Muscovite Alexander Koptsev. Prosecutors opened a criminal case on the grounds of attempted murder, inciting racial or ethnic hatred and grievous bodily harm.
Several ambulances were called to the scene in central Moscow to deal with the casualties.
At least eight people are reported to have been wounded, including one US citizen, one Israeli and one citizen of Tajikistan.
The list of the injured as reported by Russian news agencies are Chaim Berlin, Igor Valit,
Vilen Polovitzky, Roman Belinsky, Aron Menachem Yechezkelli, Michoel Mishulovin, Georgi Kulikov, Rakhmatula Shuzhbekov. Please say Tehilim for Menachem Aaron ben Yael who is in critical condition.
Russia's Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar announced he was cutting short a visit to Israel and returning to Moscow. He called on the Russian authorities to take urgent measures to fight xenophobia and racism.
“Russia is being covered by a brown plague,” said Rabbi Lazar. “We must all unite to fight these deadly symptoms. Propoganada of fascism always leads to actions, as it happened today in Moscow.”
Following the attack, the FJC announced that all synagogues and community centers across the country had been placed on high alert and that security would be boosted.
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of the worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch educational and social services decried the attack, saying it is "reminiscent of the pogroms of old." But he said he is encouraged by the vigilance of law enforcement agencies in Moscow and by President Putin "against acts of anti-semtism."
"We pray that the victims of this vicious attack have a speedy recovery," said Rabbi Krinsky. According to reports from Moscow, the most critically injured of the victims is presently undergoing emergency surgery at a Moscow hospital.
The spokesman for the Jewish community in Moscow Rabbi Boruch Gorin said he incident must send a clear meassage to the Russian government and Russian society to combat anti-semitism more vigorously. "This is a direct offshoot frpm the fascist propganada in the country that acts with impunity," he said.