Two Palestinians armed with butcher´s knives and guns attacked worshipers early Tuesday morning at a west Jerusalem synagogue, leaving four dead in their wake.
The two men reportedly entered the Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of west Jerusalem around 7 am, during morning prayers. Residents told VICE News there were approximately 12 worshipers at the site when the attack began.
The four men killed in the attack were all rabbis and foreign passport holders. Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, and Rabbi Kalman Levine, 50. All three were citizens of the United States. The final victim, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, was an immigrant from the United Kingdom. Eight others were wounded, including two policemen, according to medics at the scene. Eyewitness told VICE News that several of the victims had their limbs hacked off.
The two assailants, killed in a gun fight with Israeli security forces, have been identified as Ghassan Abu Jamal and his cousin Uday Abu Jamal, both from the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of east Jerusalem.
Although no Palestinian militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, both Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hailed the attack as an act of "revenge" for the death of 32-year-old Palestinian bus driver Yousuf al-Ramouni, who was found hanged in his bus in Jerusalem late Sunday night. While the official Israeli postmortem conducted in Tel Aviv on Monday ruled the death a suicide, a Palestinian doctor present during the autopsy said the circumstances were suspicious. Regardless of the official autopsy results, the Palestinian community in east Jerusalem was adamant the man was murdered.
Residents from the community who witnessed the attack described seeing several victims with their limbs nearly hacked off.
Israeli paramedics and security personnel worked into the afternoon to clear the crime seen. Blood was smeared across the sidewalk in front of the of Synagogue and nearby cars were pocked with bullet holes.
The corpse of one of the deceased is carried out of the Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in a body bag.
Groups of youth from what residents described as a "quiet" middle class neighborhood gather to watch the aftermath of the morning's attack.
Two members of the volunteer cleanup crew crawl along the sidewalk, moping up dried blood trails.
A couple points out an unnoticed pool of blood to the cleanup crew.
Members of the cleanup crew wipe blood off a bicycle found near the right side of the synagogue as Israeli Border Police hold a perimeter in the background.
All photos by Dylan Collins