Two terrorists wielding axes, knives and guns entered a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, and began attacking people during morning prayer services. The attackers killed four and wounded eight others before being neutralized by security forces.
Among the injured were two police officers who responded to the attack. The wounded were taken to Sha’are Tzedek Medical Center and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital for treatment. Four of them remain in moderate to serious condition.
The terrorists were shot and killed in a gunfight that ensued when security forces arrived at the scene. According to an initial investigation which was later corroborated by Palestinian sources, the terrorists came from East Jerusalem.
An eyewitness to the attack named Yossi who was praying in the synagogue at the time of the attack told Channel 2 News :”I tried to escape. The man with the knife approached me. There was a chair and table between us … my prayer shawl got caught. I left it there and escaped.”
Akiva, one of the Magen David Adom paramedics who responded to the scene said that there was pandemonium when he arrived on the scene. “Inside there was someone singing. I ran into the synagogue, there was a gunshot victim lying on the floor. I tried to treat him, but the gunfire started in my direction and we fled. I pulled the wounded man along. The police arrived and surrounded the entrance and then the terrorist ran out and they shot him. There was wild gunfire. People ran out of the synagogue. It was hell.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Tuesday’s attack was a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers.”
Following the incident, Security Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced that he will convene a special evaluation of the current security situation in Jerusalem, later today in his Tel Aviv office. In the mean time, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said that; “We currently have no magic solution for these kinds of attacks”.
Following the terror attack, Palestinians in Gaza Strip shot fireworks in celebration of the murders and the Islamic Jihad said that the attack was; “A natural response to crimes of the occupation”.
Palestinian sources named the terrorists as Rassan and Uday Abu-Jamal, relatives from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The two terrorists are related to one of the prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.
Tensions have been running high amongst Jerusalem residents who are still shaken from prior attacks in past days and weeks. While prior attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists have used primarily cars and knives against pedestrians in East Jerusalem neighborhoods, Tuesday morning’s attack occurred on the far western edge of the city and is similar in style to the gruesome attacks at the beginning of the second intifada.