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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 10:40 GMT
Moscow synagogue suspect charged
Rabbi Yitzak Kogan
Rabbi Yitzak Kogan and his son are said to have stopped the attacker
The man who attacked worshippers in a Moscow synagogue has been charged with racially-motivated attempted murder and humiliation of a religious group.

Alexander Koptsev told investigators he was jealous of Jews and their better living standards and was inspired to act by books and internet websites.

He added that the main factor was his "desire to die" and he felt sorry for those he had injured.

Mr Koptsev allegedly stabbed at least eight people before being overpowered.

Mr Koptsev, 20, described in the Russian media as a skinhead, is said to have burst into the synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya street during evening prayers on Wednesday.

He then allegedly struck out at random before being wrestled to the ground by Rabbi Yitzak Kogan and his son. Four of those injured were left in a serious condition, reports say.

Attacks common

Russia's Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar said the attack was "a serious act which did not happen by accident".

"It is a product of the general climate in Russia," he told reporters.

"It is a serious problem and does not only concern Jews. It affects all of us who live as 'foreigners' in this country. What worries us is the destiny of Russia and the fact that acts of racism and xenophobia are becoming more common."

In recent years, there have been a number of attacks on foreigners as well as against synagogues and Jewish centres across Russia.


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