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At least four killed in Jerusalem synagogue attack


Two Palestinians stormed a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, attacking worshippers praying inside with knives, axes and guns, and killing four people before they were killed in a shootout with police, officials said.

The assailants entered a Jewish seminary in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in the southwest of the city shortly before 7am, killing at least four people and wounding nine others, according to police.

Local media reported that as many as five people may have been killed at the synagogue.

There were conflicting reports about the weapons used in the attack. A police report initially said the attackers were armed with axes and knives. Police later said in a statement they had fired on worshippers with a pistol.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said authorities were viewing the incident “as a terrorist attack.” Samri said the assailants, who she claimed were Palestinians from east Jerusalem, were then killed in a shootout with police.

Israel’s ambulance service said medics were treating as many as nine injured people – five of them critically – at the scene of the deadly assault.

Surging violence

It was the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in years and comes after months of unrest in the annexed eastern sector of the city.

Violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories has surged over the past few weeks.

Five Israelis and a foreign visitor were deliberately run over with a vehicle and killed or stabbed to death by Palestinians in the past month.

About a dozen Palestinians have also been killed, including those accused of carrying out attacks.

Residents trace the violence in Jerusalem back to July, when a Palestinian teenager was burned to death by Jewish assailants, an alleged revenge attack for the abduction and killing of three Jewish teens by Palestinian militants.

The summer war in Gaza and a row over access to a Jerusalem compound sacred to Muslims and Jews alike are also being cited as reasons for the rising violence.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Source: France24