Jerusalem Synagogue Attackers Murder 4 Wound 13 - Wielded Axes, Guns, Knives - Police Thwart Copycat Attack In Bnei Brak
November 18, 2014
BREAKING: Four Dead In Jerusalem Synagogue Terror Attack; Assailants Wielded Axes,Guns, Knives
By Dave Bender
A victim of the Jerusalem synagogue terror attack lies wrapped in a prayer shawl and tefillin. Photo: Twitter.
At least four Jewish worshipers are dead, with at least four in critical or serious condition, in the wake of a terror attack at a crowded Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday morning, according to Israeli media reports.
Initial reports said the number of casualties was lower.
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.
"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.
Jerusalem synagogue attackers: Uday & Ghassan Abu Jamal. Photo: Hatzolah EMS.
"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.
PA officials have publicly called the attack "understandable," while an official statement from Abbas' office said "The presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer & condemns the killing of civilians."
However, at the same time, official PA television showed images of Bethlehem residents handing out candy in the streets, in support of the attack, according to Israel Radio.
Jerusalem synagogue attack scene. Photo: 0404 News.
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 on prayer shawls and tefillin.
"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.
A police spokesman told Army radio that the two terrorists, cousins, were residents of the capital's Jabal Mukaber neighborhood. One of the terrorists apparently worked at a nearby minimarket, according to reports.
"Jerusalem is in pain and and bows her head in grief," Mayor Nir Barkat said in initial comment on the attack.
"Worshipers were slaughtered in the midst of prayer in the center of Jerusalem, in a terribly cruel murder. We will not allow this to go unchallenged," Barkat said.
"I call on the Israeli government and security forces to allocate all the forces and resources required and the Jerusalem municipality to help them as much as possible.
"Terrorism cannot win, and – with all the difficulty – I urge everyone to go on with their daily routine and to be alert anywhere in the city.
"I promise Jerusalem's residents that we will continue to fight with all our abilities, and will do everything to restore calm to the city," Barkat said.
Palestinian poster glorifying Jerusalem synagogue attack. Image: Twitter.
Palestinian social media wasted no time in glorifying the attack, with one Facebook poster uploading a grotesque cartoon poster showing the attack, including the terrorists shooting and stabbing worshipers, and piles of bodies.
Hamas in Gaza lauded the attack, calling it "heroic."
"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time," a spokesman for the terrorist group said.
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.
Shas Party member Aryeh Deri, who was in the synagogue during the attack, told Army radio that the scene of carnage included blood on the pews and floor, with wounded and dead worshipers still wrapped in talit and tefillin religious garments.
"They were shouting ‘Allah Akbar,' as they carried out the attack," he said, and tried to call police as the murder spree unfolded..
An EMS service rescuer said they were providing initial resuscitation to the first wounded person they came across, when they came under fire from the terrorists and sought cover.
"This is the first time I've seen rescuers come under fire from the terrorists as they were providing aid," said medic Ya'akov Wertheimer, who lives nearby.
Israel Police nab suspect Bnei Brak. Photo: Twitter.
In parallel, police in Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, caught an unidentified Arab trying to perpetrate a copycat attack a short time after the first, according to initial reports.
The attack comes two days after severe incitement in the Palestinian media after a city bus driver was found hanged in his vehicle at a bus depot. An Israeli police autopsy said he committed suicide, but Palestinian media said he was "lynched by settlers," a report hotly denied by Israeli officials.
Watch a video of the initial moments of the attack: