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4 Israelis killed in Jerusalem synagogue attack

Nov. 18, 2014 8:43 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 19, 2014 1:11 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians armed with a gun and axes attacked a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday killing four Israelis, police said.

"There are four dead and six injured, among them two policemen," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

The attack struck during morning prayers at a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood in the southwest of the city.

The two assailants were shot dead, she said.

"Two terrorists, apparently from East Jerusalem, entered a yeshiva (Jewish seminary) in Har Nof and attacked worshipers with axes and a pistol," she said.

"The two terrorists were neutralized," she added, using a police euphemism for killed.

Israeli media identified the Palestinian suspects in the attack as Ghassan Abu Jamal and his cousin Uday from Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Palestinian sources also confirmed the identity of the two men.

Israeli TV station Channel 1 reported that the two were affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that the attack was a response to the "ongoing Israeli crimes against the Al-Aqsa Mosque," and urged Palestinians to carry out similar attacks.

"The operation in Jerusalem came in response to the execution of the martyr (Yousuf Hasan) al-Ramouni," Abu Zuhri added, referring to the Monday hanging death of a Palestinian Jerusalemite bus driver whose family says was murdered by right-wing Israelis while police say the death was a suicide.

The Islamic Jihad movement also commented on Tuesday's attack.

"The operation in Jerusalem was a natural reaction to the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation and its settlers," a statement said.

The attacks come as tensions boiled in Jerusalem, amid various Israeli limitations and threats on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in addition to police killings of Palestinian suspects in deadly stabbing and vehicle attacks in recent weeks.

Netanyahu blames Abbas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin said the attack was the result of "incitement" by President Mahmoud Abbas as well as Hamas.

"This is the direct result of incitement by Hamas and Abu Mazen (Abbas), incitement that the international community ignores in an irresponsible manner," the premier said in a statement.

It said he would meet security chiefs during the afternoon.

Netanyahu has repeatedly accused Abbas of encouraging deadly attacks after the Palestinian leader called for people to take action following restrictions on entry for Palestinian worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews.

Kerry condemned Tuesday's attack on the synagogue as an "act of pure terror and senseless brutality," and called on the Palestinian leadership to denounce it.

AP reported that Abbas condemned the attack while calling for an end to Israeli "provocations."

AFP contributed to this report.
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