By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
UPDATED … Jerusalem, Israel — November 18 … In a well planned terrorist attack this morning, two Islamic terrorists, one with a pistol and another with an axe and knife entered a synagogue in the Har Nof area of Jerusalem.
The first Jewish victim wearing Tallis and Tephillin was shot in the head. The terrorists then ran into various prayer rooms and a Beit Medrash.
A paramedic trying to deal with the wounded was shot in the leg before two policemen shot two of the terrorists dead.
A search is presently being conducted for their driver and a possible third attacker.
The number of casualties at present is 5 dead, 1 in serious condition and 3 in critical both from stabbings and shooting on some.
The dead have been identified as Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky, 43, Rabbi Shmuel Goldberg, 58, Rabbi Calman Levine and Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59.
Zaidan Sayyaf, an Israeli police officer who was wounded in this morning’s terrorist attack, has succumbed to his wounds.
The 27 year old officer (Druze) was one of the first to respond to the scene in the synagogue this morning, helping to stop the terrorists before they could murder any more civilians. He is survived by his wife and four month old daughter.
Thousands of people attended a joint funeral for Kupinsky, Levine and Goldberg before sundown — held outside the synagogue where the attack occurred during morning prayers.
The Israeli government announced measures to increase the city’s already heightened security. Schools and other educational institutions were ordered to ramp up their security. Most schools already have armed guards stationed at their entrance because of earlier attacks.
Speaking to journalists at the scene, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat expressed shock at the brutality of the attack. “To slaughter innocent people while they pray … it’s insane,” he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the terror attack was “a pure result of incitement”. In an emotional statement in London, Kerry added: “Innocent people who had come to worship died in the sanctuary of a synagogue. They were hatcheted, hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder.”
“This is the direct result of incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen, incitement which the international community is irresponsibly ignoring,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu.
“We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers.”