Four people were killed Tuesday morning when two terrorists brutally attacked worshippers in a synagogue and yeshiva in the Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem. Eight other people were wounded; four were in moderate to serious condition. Two police officers were among the wounded.
At around 7am, the terrorists - wielding massive knives and a gun - entered the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue on Harav Shimon Agasi Street, which includes both a synagogue and yeshiva (rabbinical seminary), and carried out attacks in more than one location.
The two were killed following a gunfight with security forces who arrived at the scene. The wounded were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah Ein Kerem. At around noon Tuesday, the hospitals said that two people were in critical condition, two people had sustained serious wounds, one person was in moderate condition, and two more were lightly hurt.
Funerals of the victims of the attack - Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Aryeh Kupinsky (all US citizens), and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, a UK citizen - are currently underway at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery, with thousands in attendance.
The Jerusalem police has decided to increase its presence throughout the city and has recruited civil guard volunteers in the wake of the morning attack, the latest and most brutal in a series of attacks directed against civilians in the city over the course of the past few months.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement earlier today condemning the attack of ‘Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer’ and the killings of civilians, and called for an end to what he defined as ‘Israeli provocation over the Temple Mount’.
Abbas’s statement was preceded by a statement from Hamas, which claimed that the attack on the synagogue was “an act of retaliation” over the death of Arab bus driver Hassan Yussuf Ramoni, whose body was discovered hanging several days ago in East Jerusalem. Ramoni’s death was ruled as a suicide by Israeli Forensic specialists after no signs were found indicating potential violence or criminal intent behind his death. Despite this ruling, his family has claimed that he was in fact murdered by Israeli settlers, and Palestinian protests have erupted as a result, with Hamas and other Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad calling for acts of retribution.