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‘I threw coffee table at Hanukkah knifeman’: Victim

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Man recalls trying to stop attacker who stabbed several people in rabbi's home

MONSEY, NEW YORK : When a machete-wielding intruder stormed into a rabbi's house in a New York suburb during a Jewish festival late on Saturday, Mr Joseph Gluck fought back.

"He was a big, husky, guy," said the 30-year-old on Sunday, recalling the attacker wore a scarf covering his face.

"I could only see his forehead and his eyes."

Mr Gluck was one of several people at the rabbi's property in Monsey, Rockland County in New York, during celebrations for Hanukkah.

"He started hitting people right and left," said Mr Gluck, adding the attacker did not say anything as he slashed victims.

"He came into the dinner room; he hit somebody there. He hit somebody in the kitchen and then he came back into the dining room."

Mr Gluck said the weapon had a big handle and the attacker just "swung it back and forth".

"Everyone was screaming and panicking and shouting 'out out out.' It was chaos," he said.

Mr Gluck said he shouted at the attacker to try to get him to stop knifing others.

"He didn't, so I threw a coffee table at the guy. Then he started to come after me," Mr Gluck told reporters.

The attacker followed him out of the house.

"He started to scream, 'Hey you, I'll get you.' I screamed for everybody to move away, so that all the people wouldn't get hurt.'"

Mr Gluck said he then saw the attacker try to enter a synagogue next to the rabbi's house but found the door locked.

"I didn't know how many people were in the synagogue. I just wanted to make sure he didn't go into the synagogue."

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Mr Gluck said he noted down the licence plate of the car and handed it to police. The police later arrested a suspect.

Victims were rushed to nearby hospitals. There were no official details on their injuries.

The attack happened at about 10pm on Saturday, the seventh night of Hanukkah.

It was the latest in a spate of attacks on the Jewish community in the New York area in recent weeks.

There was a solemn mood in Monsey, a leafy, well-to-do town, on Sunday morning as worshippers attended synagogues to pray for the victims.

Rockland has the largest proportion of Jewish residents of any US county, with 31.4 per cent, or 90,000.

A 37-year-old, Grafton Thomas, appeared in a New York court on Sunday charged with five counts of attempted murder.

He was held in custody after appearing in Ramapo Town Court, where he denied the charges.

"It is domestic terrorism. These are people who intend to create mass harm, mass violence - generate fear based on race, colour, creed," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters at the scene on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump on Sunday urged Americans to unite against anti-Semitism.

"We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism," Mr Trump tweeted, describing the attack as "horrific". - AFP

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