Members of the Jewish community gather outside the home of rabbi Chaim Rottenberg after a knife attack that took place during Hanukkah in Monsey, New York, on December 29, 2019. | KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

Five wounded in attack on rabbi’s Hanukkah celebration; truck explosion in Somalia proves deadly.

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Suspect pleads not guilty in Hanukkah party attack

  • A man arrested for stabbing five Jewish people at a Hanukkah celebration now faces federal hate crimes charges. [New York Times / Michael Gold and Benjamin Weiser]
  • Grafton Thomas allegedly entered Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home Saturday night and attacked with a knife before fleeing the Hanukkah celebration. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • New York police apprehended the suspect two hours after the attack. While police and Thomas’s family claim he has no known ties to hate groups, he has “a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations.” [NBC News / Dennis Romero and Jonathan Dienst]
  • Of the nearly 70 people in attendance, five victims were taken to local hospitals for their stab wounds, according to the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC). By Sunday night, only one victim was still in critical condition with a skull fracture. [NBC 4 New York / Jonathan Dienst and Ken Buffa]
  • “People feel their families [and] their friends are under attack,” said Yossi Gestetner, the co-founder of OJPAC. “A lot of people can identify with the attacks up close.” [The Atlantic / Emma Green]
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the attack “an act of domestic terrorism.” Cuomo said, “It’s important for me to express to the rabbi and for all of the people of New York that intolerance meets ignorances, meets illegality. We see anger. We see hatred exploding. It’s an American cancer in the body politic.” [ABC News / Bill Hutchinson, Stephanie Ramos, Josh Margolin, and Marc Nathanson]
  • Thomas is pleading not guilty to five counts of attempted murder, one count of burglary, and the hate crime charges. [Washington Post / Kevin Armstrong, Katie Mettler, Marisa Iati, and Hannah Knowles]
  • Following the attack, Rockland County officials confirmed they are soliciting pro-bono assistance from a private security firm to partner with law enforcement during increased patrols in the area. [CBS New York]
  • This year alone, anti-Semitic crimes have jumped 21 percent in New York, causing concern from local communities and national organizations about the safety of their friends and families. [Washington Post / Shayna Jacobs]

More than 75 dead in Somalia terrorist bombing

  • A busy intersection in Mogadishu was wracked by a truck bomb explosion Saturday morning in one of the worst attacks in recent memory. [AP News / Abdi Guled]
  • At least 79 people died and 149 more were injured when a driver exploded their vehicle at a checkpoint at the outskirts of the city. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and several other members of the government are pointing at fundamentalist extremist group al-Shabaab. [Bloomberg News / Mohammed Omar Ahmed and Mohamed Sheikh Nor]
  • A Somali government spokesman said a senior-level al-Shabaab official was killed in an air assault that was designed to respond to the terrorist attack. [CNN / Omar Nor, Raja Razek, and Lauren Said-Moorhouse]
  • This attack is one of several terrorist incidents in the country this year. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that much progress has been made against combating what has become a very resilient and deadly insurgency,” said Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group. [New York Times / Hussein Mohamed, Abdi Latif Dahir and Eric Schmitt]

Miscellaneous

  • If well-behaved women rarely make history, what’s America’s problem with them? [Vox/ Anna North]
    Not even children were spared in China’s crackdown on its Uighur population. [New York Times / Amy Qin]
  • After an American contractor was killed in Iraq by a rocket attributed to an Iran-backed militia group, 25 people were killed in US retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria. [TIME / Qassim Abdul-Zahra]
  • German Lopez writes about what his reporting about addiction and treatment has taught him. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • The Fab Five’s arrival in small-town Illinois wasn’t as warm and welcoming as Queer Eye made it seem. [The Guardian / Kate Abbott]

Verbatim

“We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun-free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what.”
[Sen. Donna Campbell, co-sponsor of Senate Bill 535 that allowed the parishioners of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs to carry firearms]


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