Five Killed in Terror Attack at Jerusalem Synagogue
Five people were murdered and seven people wounded Tuesday morning, after two Arab terrorists entered the Kehillat Bnai Torah Yeshiva Synagogue on Agassi Street during Shacharit (morning) prayers in Jerusalem's religious Har Nof neighborhood bearing guns, axes, and knives.
Among the wounded are two policeman, one critically wounded during the shootout with the terrorists. Medics rescued him under fire.
The terrorists, shouting "Allahu Akhbar", began attacking worshippers, stabbing them, before opening fire.
Initial footage of the attack has now surfaced. Shots can be heard fired in the background.
Police who arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting began shot both attackers dead, it has now been confirmed. The terrorists have been identified as Ghassan and Uday Abu al Jamal residents of the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, adjacent to Armon Hanetziv. One terrorist reportedly worked in the grocery near the synagogue, both had Israeli identity cards.
"Two terrorists entered a Jewish seminary in Har Nof in Jerusalem armed with a pistol and an axe and there are seven people injured," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement. "The two terrorists were neutralized."
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that four people were murdered in the attack.
They have since been identified as Rabbi Moshe Twersky, hy"d, 'Rosh Kollel' for the 'Torat Moshe' yeshiva; Rabbi Kalman Levine, hy"d; Aryeh Kupinsky, hy"d, and Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, hy"d.
A fifth victim - police officer Zidan Seif - died of his injuries late Tuesday night.
Medics treated the wounded at the scene before evacuation to Shaarei Tzedek and Hadassah hospitals, as photos from social media show.
"One of the worshipers came out full of blood, and said - there was a massacre," a witness told IDF Radio. "Police took only 11 minutes to arrive and paramedics arrived five minutes later."
"There were people running from the synagogue, and a man sitting on the pavement covered in blood, it looked like he has been stabbed," said local resident Sarah Abrahams, who was walking past when it happened.
"Two people came out with their faces half missing, looking like they'd been attacked with knives," she said as hundreds of hareidi Jews pressed up against the police tape, a few chanting "Death to terrorists."
Fighting back tears, Moshe Eliezer said he had narrowly avoided being at the scene after oversleeping.
"This is a yeshiva community. Ninety percent don't serve in the army. We're not violent," he said.
Police said six people were wounded, among them two policemen who had engaged in a gunbattle with the terrorists.
They said the attackers were two cousins from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber.
Speaking to journalists at the scene, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat expressed shock at the scale of the bloodshed.
"To slaughter innocent people while they pray... it's insane," he said.
Arie Shavit, a volunteer medic for United Hatzalah, spoke to Arutz Sheva Tuesday shortly after the shooting. He was one of the first to arrive at the scene.
"Two terrorists infiltrated the synagogue and massacred worshipers during prayer," he stated, noting the worshipers were "wearing prayer shawls and phylacteries."
"I and other volunteers of United Hatzalah provided primary care to a number of casualties suffering from different injuries, and unfortunately some of them were injured critically," he continued. "The Police came and neutralized the terrorists. This was an attack - one which included shootings and stabbings."
Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the massacre, with a Hamas spokesperson saying it was a "response" to the suicide of an Arab bus driver Monday, which Islamists have nevertheless been blaming on "Israeli settlers" in order to stoke further tension.