Four killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue

Four worshippers have been killed in a horrific attack on a Jerusalem synagogue.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said six people were wounded in the bloody assault, which was described as a “terrorist attack”.

Two assailants entered the synagogue today with knives, axes and guns and set upon worshippers. The attackers were killed in a shoot-out with police.

Ms Samri said the attackers were Palestinians from east Jerusalem.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the wounded in the attack included two police officers.

Police were searching the area for other suspects.

Israeli TV footage showed the synagogue, in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood, surrounded by police and rescue workers.

“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,” Yossi, who was praying at the synagogue at the time of the attack, told Israeli Channel 2 TV. He declined to give his last name.

The violence comes amid high tensions in the city, with a wave of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis, killing at least six people in recent weeks.

Jerusalem residents have already been fearful of what appeared to be lone wolf attacks using cars or knives against pedestrians. But today’s early morning attack on the synagogue harkens back to the gruesome attacks during the Palestinian uprising of the last decade.

Tensions appeared to have been somewhat defused last week following a meeting in Jordan of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US secretary of state John Kerry and Jordan’s King Abdullah. The meeting was an attempt to restore calm after months of violent confrontations surrounding a sacred shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims.

Israel and the Palestinians said then they would take steps to reduce tensions that might lead to an escalation.

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