"Terrorist Shouted 'God Is Great' While Trying To Stab Me" Eyewitness Recounts Har Nof Synagogue Massacre
November 18, 2014
Terrorists screaming 'God is Great' tried to stab me: Four dead in Jerusalem horror as two attackers with axes and knives storm synagogue as worshippers pray
Two Palestinians stormed a Jerusalem synagogue, attacking worshippers
The attackers, armed with knives, axes and guns, were shot dead by police
Six people were wounded in the attack, the deadliest in Jerusalem in years
Attackers were reportedly cousins aged 22 and 27 from East Jerusalem
They have been named by local media as Uday and Rassan Abu Jamal
The attack took place in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood
PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will 'respond harshly' to the attack
Hamas leader Mushir al-Masri described the slaughter as a 'heroic act'
By Ted Thornhill for MailOnline and Paul Alster In Israel
Four worshippers praying inside a Jerusalem synagogue were killed by two Palestinians who burst into the building armed with knives, axes and guns before being shot dead by police.
Eye witness Yossi, who was inside the synagogue during the terror attack this morning, said: 'A little before seven o'clock in the middle of prayers we heard shooting and two attackers stormed in shouting 'Allah hu'Akbar' [Arabic for 'God is Great']. There were shouts and screams. I was towards the rear of the synagogue about 10 metres from the exit and tried to get out when one of the terrorists appeared opposite me holding a knife.
'There was a table and a chair between us. He tried to stab me. I saw him starting to move to his right and a moved the other way and managed to run to the door then as I got outside I found a man on the ground full of blood. I got out and called the police. I thank God that I got out. There were probably between 20 and 30 people inside the synagogue for morning prayers at the time, less than usual. '
Pictures posted online revealed the horror of the attack, showing a bloodied meat cleaver at the scene, along with heavily blood-stained floors and bodies covered in shawls.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will 'respond harshly' to the attack, which he described as the 'cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers', while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the attack.
The two attackers are cousins Uday and Rassan Abu Jamal, close relatives of a Hamas terrorist who was released in 2011 as part of the exchange deal for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, according to Israeli radio.
They are aged 22 and 27 and from the Jabal Mukaber district of East Jerusalem, which has been the scene of relentless clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in recent months.
They were reportedly inspired by calls from Hamas through Palestinian media and on social media to attack Israeli targets to 'protect the Al Aqsa mosque'. It is not known if they were members of any militant groups.
Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service are questioning relatives of the two killers to determine the extent of the family involvement in the attack.
In a statement, Hamas praised the synagogue attack as a 'heroic act', saying it was a 'response to continued Israeli crimes, the killing, desecrating al-Aqsa (mosque),' a reference to a recent incident at the holy site. It also called for a continuation of 'vendettas'.
Hamas leader Mushir al-Masri said that the slaughter of the worshippers was a 'natural reaction' to the death of 32-year-old Palestinian bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni, who was found hanged in his vehicle on Sunday.
Police said there was no evidence of foul play, blaming his death on suicide, with their findings backed up by a post-mortem.
But colleagues and family said there were signs of violence on his body, claiming he was murdered.
And the Palestinian pathologist who attended the post-mortem also ruled out suicide, suggesting he may have been drugged then strangled, the family's lawyer said.
Thousands attended his funeral late on Monday, some of them calling for revenge.
The attack was the deadliest in Jerusalem in years and is bound to ratchet up fears of sustained violence in the city, already on edge amid soaring tensions over a contested holy site.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said six people were also wounded in the attack, including two police officers. One of them is reportedly in a critical condition after being shot in the head. He said police were searching the area for other suspects.
Israeli TV footage showed the synagogue, in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood, surrounded by police and rescue workers following the attack.
Eye witness Menahem Cohen, who saw the attack happen from his apartment directly opposite the building, said: 'I saw a man stagger out of the synagogue with two bullets wounds in his back, blood was running down, and he appeared to be in complete shock.
'Very quickly the police arrived and took positions at different angles around the building. Then I saw one of the attackers come out of the building holding a meat cleaver, and as he came out he was shot from different angles by the police and he fell to the ground.'
Click on link for video and pictures.