Jersey City
Police officers arrive to the scene where active shooting was happening in Jersey City on December 10, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

New York: The shooters who unleashed a deadly firefight in Jersey City deliberately targeted a kosher grocery, the city's mayor said on Wednesday, suggesting that it was an anti-Semitic attack.

"Last night after extensive review of our CCTV system it has now become clear from the cameras that these two individuals targeted the Kosher grocery," wrote Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop on Twitter.

"I'm Jewish and proud to live in a community like #JerseyCity that has always welcomed everyone," he wrote. "Hate and anti-semitism have never had a place here in JC and will never have a place in our city."

Fulop stopped short of stating a precise motive for the hours-long shootout that resulted in the death of six people, including a police officer and two suspects.

Hundreds of police from New Jersey and neighboring New York, including tactical officers armed with rifles and wearing olive-green fatigues and helmets, were deployed during the hours-long drama.

'High alert' in New York

Jersey City is located across a New York suburb, near the Statue of Liberty.

Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said late Tuesday that the shooting began in a cemetery, and the shooters then moved to the grocery store.

He did not emphasise that it was a kosher grocery store, or mention anti-Semitism.

However New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the shooting "tragically confirms that a growing pattern of violent anti-Semitism has now turned into a crisis for our nation".

This threat "has reached the doorstep of New York City," he wrote.

"Although there is no credible or specific threat directed against New York City, I have directed the NYPD to assume a state of high alert," de Blasio tweeted.

He said that city police "are being redeployed to protect key locations in the Jewish community."

Attacks against Jewish targets have been on the rise in the past years across the United States, especially in the densely populated New York metropolitan area.

A report in April from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) stated that the number of anti-Semitic attacks in 2018 was close to the record of 2017, with 1,879 incidents, and with a sharp increase in violent acts.

Last year was marked by a white supremacist's attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in late October, which left 11 dead, the deadliest attack ever committed against the Jewish community in the United States.