5 stabbed at Hanukkah celebration in latest attack on Jews

5 stabbed at Hanukkah celebration in latest attack on Jews

After a suspect stabbed five people at a Hanukkah gathering in suburban NY, a rabbi resumed the celebrations at a synagogue next door.

Thomas' family said he was raised to embrace tolerance but has a history of mental illness.

Thomas' family has denounced the crime and said he has mental health problems and no ties to any hate groups. It's not clear if any more charges will be filed against Thomas.

Attendees were members of Monsey's Hasidic Jewish community, a subgroup of Orthodox Judaism.

Authorities later discovered handwritten journals in Thomas' home that contained anti-Semitic writings.

Grafton Thomaswas driving a Nissan Sentra across the George Washington Bridge into New York City when his car's tag was captured by a license plate reader at about 11:45 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.

Thomas was charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. Last month, police said that they would increase patrols in Monsey in response to Jewish residents' fears.

There were about 100 people at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's Monsey, New York, home at the time of Saturday's attack.

On Friday, police arrested a woman accused of slapping three women in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, because she thought they were Jewish.

In a statement released shortly after midnight New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was "horrified" by the Monsey stabbings, calling the acts "despicable" and "cowardly".

The stabbings come not long after another act of violence directed at Jews on December 10, when a gunman opened fire on a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J., in what investigators are calling a targeted attack.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day says in a statement, "Violence of any kind will not be tolerated here in Rockland".

Thomas' mother sat on the front row at the event with a tissue in her hand but did not comment.

The family concluded the statement by offering their prayers for the victims and thanked those who "rendered medical attention to each of those injured".

As the community reels from the violence, and some talk about arming themselves to defend against future attacks, the family of Thomas is responding to the allegation that the violence was fueled by hate.

The local Jewish community continued their celebration of Hanukkah with a menorah lighting in Lexington. They refused to give their names when approached by an AP journalist, but they said they were there to defend their community.

The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) said on Twitter an attacker wearing a scarf stabbed the victims at a house in Monsey, Rockland County, about 30 miles north of New York City.

"Cuomo, who said he visited with with the rabbi Sunday morning, said Rottenberg's son was among those wounded and that another person was in critical condition with wounds to the head". "No one should have to live like this".

President Donald Trump condemned the "horrific" attack, saying in a tweet Sunday that "We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism".

In New York City, the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared with Jewish and other faith leaders at his Harlem headquarters and said that he was disturbed and upset that several of the alleged perpetrators of recent attacks on Jews have been black.

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