At least four Jewish worshipers are dead, with six or more in critical or serious condition, in the wake of a terror attack at a crowded Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday morning. Economic Minister Naftali Bennett says: “PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has declared war on Israel and we must respond accordingly.”
Algemeiner (h/t Liz) Israeli Police said two Palestinian terrorists entered the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue on Shimon Agassi St. in the city’s religious Har Nof neighborhood at about 07:00 a.m., opened fire with weapons and struck worshipers with a meat cleaver and knives.
Two police officers in the vicinity were able to shoot and kill the assailants. One policeman is in critical condition, in the wake of the attack, and unconfirmed reports said he has succumbed to his wounds. Police have locked down the area, and ground units and helicopters are searching for a third accomplice, Israel Radio said.
Palestinian social media wasted no time in glorifying the attack, with one Facebook poster uploading a grotesque cartoon poster (below) showing the attack, including the terrorists shooting and stabbing worshipers, and piles of bodies.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the attackers were Palestinians from east Jerusalem, which has been the scene of relentless clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in recent months. She identified the assailants as Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamil from the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood.
“This is the direct result of the incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority – PA President Mahmoud Abbas], incitement which the international community is irresponsibly ignoring,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in comment, and will soon convene security officials to weigh responses. ‘We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers. We will respond harshly,” Netanyahu said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry called Netanyahu to offer his condolences, and called on the PA to clearly condemn the attack. However, no PA officials have publicly responded to the attack, as of this update.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said Abbas, “who is among the greatest terrorists to incite the Palestinian people, is directly responsible for the Jewish blood spilled. “While we dealt with fantasies about the political process, the Palestinians have prepared an interlocking infrastructure of terrorism and incitement. Even the concept of concrete blocks do not stop terrorism, but rather encourage it,” he said. “Abbas declared war on Israel, and we must respond accordingly,” Bennett declared.
Israel has been on edge with a spate of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, killing at least six people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Tel Aviv in recent weeks, prior to Tuesday’s casualties.
Jerusalem residents had already been fearful of what appeared to be lone wolf attacks using cars or knives against pedestrians, but Tuesday’s synagogue assault harkens back to gruesome attacks during the Palestinian uprising of the last decade.
SHOCKING: Billboard up in center of Nazareth calling to continue car run-over terror attacks as part of new campaign. pic.twitter.com/8m2SNwyuAq
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) November 9, 2014
Hamas in Gaza lauded the attack, calling it “heroic.” “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Islamic Jihad and Fatah also praised the attack, with a spokesman for the latter blaming the Israeli government for the killings.
The two assailants, Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal, in their 20s, are reportedly relatives of terrorists released in the prisoner swap with Hamas to gain the release of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.