Tags: Israel | War on Terrorism | Jerusalem | synagogue | Palestinian | Israeli

Synagogue Death Toll at Five After Israeli Officer Succumbs

Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 09:45 PM

An Israeli police officer who died of his wounds in a "horrific attack" at a Jerusalem synagogue by two knife- and axe-wielding Palestinian assailants has brought the death toll in the assault to five.

The attackers, who were cousins, also killed four rabbis, three of them American and one a British national, ABC News reports.

The Israeli officer, Zidan Saif, died of wounds he suffered in a gunfight that ended the Har Nof synagogue assault, The Times of Israel reports.

The four Jewish victims were laid to rest Tuesday afternoon. They were identified as American citizens Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, formerly of Boston; Rabbi Kalman Levine, 55; and Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43; and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, a British national.

The attackers, Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal, from East Jerusalem, were shot and killed at the scene, ABC News reports.

Condemnation poured in from Israeli and international leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, The Times of Israel reports.

But Abbas was also blamed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for inciting terrorism against Israel, The Times of Israel reports. The prime minister demanded global denunciation of Palestinian terrorism and incitement, and vowed Israel would "settle scores" with the terrorists.

"We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers," Netanyahu said. Netanyahu also ordered the demolition of the alleged attackers' homes, ABC News reports.

The attack was the first of its kind at an Israeli synagogue.

While emphasizing that the United States also condemned the synagogue attack, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke cautioned that "punitive home demolitions are counterproductive to the cause of peace, especially in an already tense situation."

The FBI said it would lead the United States' side of the investigation and was "working in close collaboration and cooperation with the appropriate Israeli allies and partners."

"This is a tragedy for both nations —  Israel as well as the United States — and our hearts go out to the families, who obviously are undergoing enormous grief right now," President Barack Obama said, denouncing the attack as "horrific" before a meeting with his national security team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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An Israeli police officer who died of his wounds in a "horrific attack" at a Jerusalem synagogue by two knife- and axe-wielding Palestinian assailants has brought the death toll in the assault to five.
Jerusalem, synagogue, Palestinian, Israeli
365
2014-45-18
Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 09:45 PM
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