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Man, 72, dies from Hanukkah stabbings injuries

World News | Published:

Josef Neumann was one of five victims of the machete attack north of New York City last December.

Hanukkah stabbings suspect Grafton Thomas

A man who was among five people stabbed during a Hanukkah celebration north of New York City has died three months after the attack, according to an Orthodox Jewish organisation and community liaison with a local police department.

Josef Neumann, 72, died on Sunday night, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said in a tweet.

The funeral for the father of seven and great-grandfather will be held on Monday. No further details were provided.

On December 28, an attacker with a machete rushed into a rabbi’s home in an Orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, New York, an ambush Governor Andrew Cuomo called an act of domestic terrorism fuelled by intolerance and a “cancer” of growing hatred in America.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, who is the community liaison for the Ramapo Police Department which serves Monsey and executive director of Oizrim Jewish Council, also shared the news of Mr Neumann’s death on his Twitter account.

“We were hoping when he started to open his eyes,” the rabbi told The Journal News on Sunday night. “We were hoping and praying he would then pull through. This is so very sad he was killed celebrating Hanukkah with friends just because he was a Jew.”

In the days following the attack, Mr Neumann’s family said in a statement that the knife penetrated his skull and went directly into his brain, which could have caused permanent brain damage and could leave him partially paralysed. He also suffered other cuts to the head and neck, and his arm was shattered.

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The Hanukkah attack came amid a string of violence that has alarmed Jews in the region.

Hanukkah Stabbings
Nicky Kohen, daughter of Josef Neumann who was critically injured in an attack on a Hanukkah celebration, speaks to reporters after the stabbing (Seth Wenig/AP)

Federal prosecutors said the man charged over the attack, Grafton Thomas, had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic comments and a swastika and had researched Adolf Hitler’s hatred of Jews online.

Thomas’s lawyer and relatives said he has struggled for years with mental illness; they said he was raised in a tolerant home and had not previously shown any animosity toward Jewish people.

Thomas was indicted on federal hate crime charges as well as state charges, including attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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