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UPDATE 8-Trump arrives in Pittsburgh as synagogue victims mourned, protesters gather

Updated: 31-10-2018 03:02 IST

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Pittsburgh on Tuesday to show support as thousands of mourners attended the first funerals for victims of a mass shooting at the city's Tree of Life synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath.

The Republican president said he would visit hospitalized police officers and other people wounded in the attack. He will be accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, the White House said.

Earlier, more than 1,800 people from across the United States came to offer condolences to the relatives of David Rosenthal, 54, and Cecil Rosenthal, 59, at Rodef Shalom, another synagogue in the Pennsylvania city, as police officers stood outside.

The two brothers, who lived at a home for people with disabilities, were among the 11 mostly elderly congregants killed on Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in the city's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Services were also held for Jerry Rabinowitz, a 66-year-old family physician, and retiree Daniel Stein, 71.

The crowd of about 2,000 at Rabinowitz's funeral included nurses in surgical scrubs.

"He was just precious," said Michele Bucher, a 54-year-old patient of Rabinowitz. "I feel like I've lost a father figure — and I have a father."

Robert Bowers, 46, is accused of storming into the synagogue yelling "All Jews must die!" and opening fire on members of three congregations holding Sabbath prayer services there.

A federal judge on Monday ordered Bowers held without bail.

The attack - which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has described as the deadliest targeting Jews in U.S. history - has heightened a national debate over Trump's rhetoric, which critics say has contributed to a surge in white nationalist and neo-Nazi activity.

The Trump administration has rejected the notion that he has encouraged far-right extremists who have embraced him.

Trump's visit comes just seven days before elections that will determine the balance of power in Congress between the Republican and Democratic parties. The Republicans currently control both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan in Washington; Writing by Bill Tarrant; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)