Four Israelis Killed In Jerusalem Synagogue

lsraelisFour Israelis have been killed and eight injured as two men armed with a pistol and meat cleavers attacked a West Jerusalem synagogue.

The attackers – Palestinians from East Jerusalem – were shot dead.

Israel’s PM vowed a “heavy” response and has already ordered the destruction of the homes of the attackers.

It is the deadliest attack in six years in Jerusalem, which has seen weeks of unrest, partly fuelled by tension over a disputed holy site.

Three of the victims were dual Israeli-US nationals, the US state department has confirmed, while the fourth was a dual Israeli-UK citizen. The funerals of all four men have been held in Jerusalem.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the attack on “incitement” by the militant group Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Abbas’s office issued a statement saying: “The presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer and condemns the killing of civilians no matter who is doing it.”

US President Barack Obama also condemned the attack, saying: “There is and can be no justification for such attacks against innocent civilians.”

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said it carried out the attack.

The attack happened at the Bnei Torah Kehilat Yaakov synagogue and religious seminary site on Harav Shimon Agassi Street – home to a largely Orthodox Jewish community in the Har Nof neighbourhood.

The victims were Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, head of the seminary, Arieh Kupinsky, 43, and Kalman Levine, 55, all of whom also held US passports. The fourth victim, Avraham Goldberg, 68, is also a UK citizen.

Police say there was a shoot-out with the attackers when officers reached the scene.

Pictures posted online by an Israeli military spokesman show a bloodied meat cleaver, bodies lying between desks and chairs on a blood-stained floor, their faces covered with their prayer shawls.

“I tried to escape. The man with the knife approached me. There was a chair and table between us… my prayer shawl got caught. I left it there and escaped,” one of the Israelis told Channel 2 television.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said: “To slaughter innocent people while they pray… it’s insane.”

The synagogue attack comes after months of violence, explains

BBC

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