All four Israelis killed in Tuesday’s terror attack at a West Jerusalem synagogue had dual American or British citizenship, according to CNN and Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. The attack at Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue came amid heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israelis and fueled fears that violence would escalate from last summer’s war in Gaza.
This is the synagogue in Jerusalem, where Jewish worshippers were murdered by terrorists today during prayer. pic.twitter.com/sR10iIXoZk
â€” PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) November 18, 2014
The two Palestinian suspects, whom Israeli police said were armed with a gun, knives and axes, were killed by Israeli authorities. Protests erupted in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, where one of the attackers lived and where Palestinians clashed with police. Nine Palestinians were arrested in the riots, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Three U.S. citizens were killed in the attack on the synagogue in the Har Nof section of West Jerusalem: Aryeh Kupinsky, 43; Kalman Zeev Levine, 55; and 59-year-old Moshe Twersky, who led the Yeshiva Toras Moshe religious school in Jerusalem, according to Haaretz. The fourth Israeli killed, 68-year-old Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, had dual Israeli-British citizenship.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the incident, accusing the Palestinian leader of inflaming tensions that led to the attack.
“This is the direct result of incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen, incitement which the [international] community is irresponsibly ignoring,” Netanyahu tweeted, referring to Abbas’ nickname. “We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers.”
Abbas also condemned the attack in West Jerusalem. "The presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer, and condemned the killing of civilians no matter who is responsible," Abbas said in a statement. "We condemn all acts of violence from all sources, and demand an end to the invasions of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the provocations of settlers, and the incitement by some ministers in the Israeli government."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Netanyahu to offer his condolences, according to the State Department’s Twitter account:
â€” Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) November 18, 2014
The attack at the synagogue occurred as tensions flared between Israelis and Palestinians. A series of stabbings and incidents of what appeared to be Israelis being deliberately run over have plagued Israel in recent days.