At least four Israelis and two Palestinians have been killed in an attack on a synagogue in West al-Quds (Jerusalem) amid escalating tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Early on Tuesday, two Palestinian men, reportedly armed with axes and handguns, entered the synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of West al-Quds, killing at least four Israelis and injuring several others including two police officers.
The assailants were fatally shot by Israeli forces. The area has now been cordoned off and the assault is being investigated.
Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad hailed the attack, saying it was a response to the recent hanging of Hassan Yousef Rammouni, a young Palestinian bus driver, by Israeli settlers.
Rammouni, 32, was driving back home from work on November 16 when he was abducted and then hanged by Israelis in his bus in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of East al-Quds.
Following the Tuesday incident, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Tel Aviv regime would “respond harshly” to the fatal attack.
Tensions have been running high in East al-Quds after Israeli troops shot dead a young Palestinian man in northern occupied territories last week.
Israeli forces claim Khair al-Din Hamdan was shot during a raid, but video footage released after the incident shows an Israeli soldier getting out of his car and shooting directly at Hamdan.
Following the unrest sparked by the killing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a harsh crackdown on protests.
Palestinians have vowed to keep holding demonstrations in protest at Hamdan’s killing until the Israeli soldier who shot him dead is brought to justice.