(JTA) — A man wielding a machete walked into a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, and stabbed at least five people.
In a series of tweets, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council of the Hudson Valley said that five Hasidic Orthodox Jews were taken to the hospital on Saturday night, two in critical condition.
The council said the assailant was an African-American male and his face was partially masked with a scarf. It said the attack took place at 9:50 p.m.
A Hanukkah party was underway at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, which is adjacent to his Rottenberg Shul, when the attack occurred. The assailant fled in a silver car, according to reports.
Rockland County police reported at around midnight that the New York Police Department had located a suspect and the vehicle involved in the getaway.
Police later identified the suspect Grafton E. Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake, New York. Police Chief Brad Weidel told the Associated Press that he will face five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.
Monsey, an upstate town of some 18,000, has a large Orthodox Jewish population.
There has been a proliferation of attacks on Orthodox Jews in the New York-New Jersey area in recent weeks, including one on a Jersey City kosher supermarket earlier this month in which three people were killed along with the two shooters, a man and a woman who earlier had killed a police officer at a nearby cemetery. The male gunman was a black nationalist.
This is a developing story.