Diplomacy & defense
Four Jewish worshippers were killed and eight were wounded during morning prayers Tuesday in a terror attack at a synagogue in west Jerusalem.
Video of the shooting of the terrorists by security guards
Two Palestinians from the Arab neighborhood of Jabel al-Mukaber, east Jerusalem, entered a synagogue in the religious Har Nof neighborhood during morning prayers, went from room to room attacking the worshippers with guns, knives and axes. The terrorists were shot dead by security forces at the scene.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took responsibility for the attack.
One of the worshippers reported the attackers shouted "Allahu Akbar." Eyewitnesses reported a third terrorist fled the scene but the police said there were only two terrorists, both of them killed.
The wounded were evacuated to hospitals. Four, including a policeman, were reported to be in serious condition, two in moderate condition and two were lightly wounded.
Palestinian sources said that the terrorists were cousins Rassan,27, and Uday Abu-Jamal,22, from Jabel al-Mukaber. The two were related to a prisoner released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner-exchange deal. One of them worked at a grocery store near the synagogue.
Clashes erupted Tuesday in Jabel al-Mukaber between Palestinians and the police. Nine people were arrested. Palestinians in the West Bank were firing firecrackers and sharing candies in a show of solidarity with the terrorists.
Jewish settlers were also protesting, hurling fire bombs near the settlement of Yitzhar, south of the city of Nablus.
"Abbas has declared war on Israel"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response: "We will convene a special security consultation. The attack is a direct result of Hamas and Abbas incitement. The international community is irresponsibly ignoring the incitement. We will respond forcefully to the heinous murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by debased murderers."
Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Adelstein said the attack was a direct result of Palestinian incitement against Jews. Minister of the Economy hardliner Naftali Bennet said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has declared war against Israel. "He is the one responsible for the bloodshed of worshippers."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said: "Jerusalem is hurting and grieving. Worshippers were slain at a prayer house in the center of Jerusalem in a horribly cruel murder...We will not let terrorism prevail...I promise to Jerusalem residents that we will keep on fighting and do everything in our power to restore the quiet."
Minister of Intelligence Yuval Steinitz also accused Abbas of carrying the responsibility for the horrible massacre and to the wave of attacks and riots in Jerusalem.
Secretary of State John Kerry called Netanyau and expressed his condolences and condemned the attack. He also called on the Palestinian leaders to halt the incitement. "The attack has no place in human behavior," he added.
Israeli media described the scene as "a massacre." Palestinian media appeared to link the attack to the discovery of a Palestinian bus driver, who was found hanged in his bus nearby on Sunday night. This despite the fact that an autopsy conducted in the presence of a Palestinian pathologist, found no evidence of foul play and rules the death a suicide. The family insists the man was killed by Jews.
Hamas Spokesman Mushir al-Masri said Tuesday the terror attack was revenge for the "killing" of the Palestinian bus driver.
Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said the attack was "a natural response to the recent events" in Jerusalem.
However, Abbas' office issued a statement condemning the attack. Former minister in the Palestinian government Ashraf al-Ajami told i24news the Palestinian Authority condemns any attacks against innocent civilians whether Israeli or Palestinian.
EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faarborg-Andersen said he was horrified, adding he "utterly condemns the despicable terror attack on worshippers at the Jerusalem synagogue."