Four killed in Jerusalem synagogue terror attack

Four killed in Jerusalem synagogue terror attack – National Israel News | Haaretz.

( Blessed be the true judge… ברוך דיין אמת  – JW }

Netanyahu convenes Security Cabinet meeting, says Israel will respond with ‘firm hand;’ Abbas condemns attack, Hamas lauds it; eight wounded.

Four Israelis were killed and several others wounded in a terror attack on Tuesday morning in a synagogue in the western Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof.

Two assailants were killed at the scene by police.

Eight people were wounded in the assault, including four seriously, two moderately and two lightly. Magen David Adom ambulances administered first aid to the wounded before evacuating them to hospitals in the city. Five were taken to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, and the rest to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Israel Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said two assailants entered the synagogue on Tuesday with knives, axes and guns and attacked worshipers. The attackers were killed in a shootout with police. Samri said the attackers were Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

The shooting occured at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue on Shimon Agassi St. The Lithuanian synagogue is part of a compound that includes a kolel (a yeshiva for married men) and another synagogue. Residents of the neighborhood said the 6:30 A.M minyan (Jewish prayer quorum) included less people than usual, but there were still dozens of worshipers at the site when the terrorists struck.

The first call to first responders was made at 7:01 A.M. According to police, two terrorists entered the compound and attacked worshippers, who were leaving the synagogue, with guns and axes. Two traffic policemen arrived at the scene separately and were joined by a third police officer. The three engaged in a firefight with the terrorists and killed them. One policeman was critically wounded, and another sustained moderate wounds.

Initially, police suspected there may be a third assailant on the loose in the area, but later stated this was no longer a concern.

Large police forces arrived at the scene after the attack.

 

Several right-wing protesters gathered near the scene of the attack, calling “Death to Arabs” and “Revenge.”

Palestinian sources said the suspects were Rassan and Adi Abu al- Jamal, cousins from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber. Residents there said large forces of Shin Bet security personnel arrived at there after the attack and entered the suspects’ family houses. Residents also reported hearing shots of teargas near the houses. They also said a school near the houses was evacuated.

Palestinians also reported seeing large security forces in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

Eliyahu Rotenberg, who resides near the synagogue, described what he witnessed of the attack. “We heard the sirens (of police vehicles) and I went outside and saw police taking cover and shooting. Many shots were fired and I saw one of the police get wounded and the terrorists being killed.”

ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav described the scene inside the synagogue: “I’ve seen disaster scenes that were a lot worse with more fatalities, but to see Jews with beards and pe’ot (sidelocks) wrapped in teffilin (phylacteries), surrounded by puddles of blood – I do not remember seeing such a sight.”

“This is not a cliché, it’s the reality,” he continued. “We have only seen things like this happen in the Holocaust.“

Israeli security personnel run next to a synagogue, where a Palestinian terror attack took place, in Jerusalem, Nov. 18, 2014. Photo by Reuters

Zahav said three of the dead worshipers were found inside the synagogue and the fourth in the corridor. He also said he saw the two assailants, who were killed in a gunfight with police, at the entrance to the synagogue.

‘Incitement fed attack’

Following the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a Security Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Bureau, to be held this afternoon.

Netanyahu said incitement by Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas motivated attacks on Jews. “This is a direct result of the incitement lead by Hamas and Abu Mazen (Abbas), incitement that the international community irresponsibly ignores.

“We will respond with a firm hand to this brutal murder of Jews who went to pray and were scathed by despicable murder.”

Hamas praised Tuesday morning’ attack, describing it as “a quality development in the confrontation with the Israeli occupation.”

“The organization welcomes the terror attack, an appropriate and functional response to the crimes of the occupation,” the Gaza-based group added.

Abbas, on the other hand, condemned the attack. “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,” his office said in a statement to Reuters.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the attack was an act of “pure terror”.

“This simply has no place in human behavior,” he told reporters during a visit to London. He also called for Palestinian leaders to condemn the attack.

Kerry called Netanyahu to condemn the attack. During their conversation, the Israeli prime minister told the U.S. secretary that the strike was a direct result of Abbas’ incitement, and that it was a despicable murder at a sacred site.

The United Nations’ Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, said he was “abhorred by the attack,” and added: “There can be no justification whatsoever for these deliberate killings,” which he strongly condemns.

“I reiterate the United Nations’ urgent call on all sides to do everything they can possibly do to avoid further escalation in the already very tense situation in Jerusalem,” he said.

EU ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen also condemned the attack, saying “I am horrified by and utterly condemn the despicable terror attack on worshipers in Jerusalem.”

After the attack, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef called for security guards to be posted outside every synagogue, “just like any other public place.”

On the other hand, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau told Army Radio the prospect of a security guard at every synagogue, as is the case around the world, should not be repeated in Israel. “All over the country there are synagogues with bustling Jewish life of Torah, prayer and charity. They must not be allowed to stop because of some bloodthirsty terrorists,” he said.

The violence comes amid high tensions in the city, with a wave of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis killing at least six people in recent weeks. On Sunday night, a Palestinian man was found dead in East Jerusalem in a bus he drove for Israeli bus company Egged. News of his death sparked protests in various Palestinian neighborhoods. Police said an autopsy indicated the man comitted suicide by hanging, while a Palestinian pathologist suspected foul play.

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