Update, 6:30 p.m.: A police officer who was critically wounded in the attack has died.
Original post, 9:50 a.m.: Two Palestinians armed with knives, axes, and guns killed four rabbis at a synagogue in what the New York Times describes as an “ultra-Orthodox” neighborhood in Jerusalem this morning. It’s the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in three years and the latest in a series of incidents that have followed Israel’s temporary closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a Muslim holy site, last month. The attackers were killed by police at the scene. From the Times:
Relatives identified the attackers as two cousins, Odai Abed Abu Jamal, 22, and Ghassan Muhammad Abu Jamal, 32. They were described as being motivated by what they saw as threats to the revered plateau that contains Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has repeatedly asserted that he will not alter the status quo at the site, where non-Muslims can visit but not openly pray, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has called on Palestinians to protect the area and has warned of a “holy war” if it is “contaminated” by Jews.
American Secretary of State John Kerry notably called the attack “a pure result of incitement,” apparently referring to recent statements by Abbas and other Palestinian leaders about Al-Aqsa. Said Abbas in a statement: “We condemn the killings of worshipers at the synagogue in Jerusalem and condemn acts of violence no matter their source.”
In Gaza City and the West Bank, the Times says, “some distributed sweets and paraded through the streets singing victory songs.” In Jerusalem, according to Haaretz, right-wing Israelis “gathered near the scene of the attack, calling ‘Death to Arabs’ and ‘Revenge.’ “