TWO people have been killed in a shooting outside a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

Several shots were fired and the suspected assailants then fled in a car, police said in a tweet. One person has been arrested

Pictures from the scene showed a body lying in the street behind a police cordon.

One person was killed near a synagogue on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur and a witness reported that a nearby kebab shop also was attacked.

Police gave no information about the suspected target or targets, or why they thought the attack may have been carried out by multiple assailants.

A Jewish leader said one assailant had tried to force his way into the synagogue but did not get in.

A video clip broadcast by regional public broadcaster MDR showed a man in a helmet and an olive-coloured top getting out of a car and firing four shots from behind the vehicle from a long-barreled gun. It was not clear what he was shooting at.

The head of Halle's Jewish community, Max Privorotzki, told the news magazine Der Spiegel that a camera at the entrance of the synagogue showed a person trying to break into the building.

"The assailant shot several times at the door and also threw several Molotov cocktails, firecrackers or grenades to force his way in," he said. "But the door remained closed - God protected us. The whole thing lasted perhaps five to 10 minutes."

He said there were 70 or 80 people inside the synagogue when the shooting occurred.

A witness interviewed on n-tv television said he had been in a kebab shop when a man with a helmet and a military jacket threw something that looked like a grenade, which bounced off the doorframe.

Conrad Roessler said the man then shot into the shop at least once. "All the customers next to me ran, of course I did too - I think there were five or six of us in there," Roessler said. "The man behind me probably died. I hid in the toilet.

"The others looked for the back entrance. I didn't know if there was one. I locked myself quietly in this toilet, and wrote to my family that I love them, and waited for something to happen."

Police then came into the shop, he said.

Officer said shots were also fired in Landsberg, about 10 miles from Halle. It was not clear whether the two shootings were related.

The European Parliament held a moment of silence at the start of its session to mark the unfolding situation in Halle.