Four worshippers were killed in an attack in a synagogue in Jerusalem by Palestinians who were later shot dead by police.
Three of the victims were Americans with dual citizenship and the fourth was British. All were ordained rabbis.
The attack, the deadliest in six years in Jerusalem, took place during morning prayers when the suspects armed with a meat cleaver and a gun went on a rampage.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting violence in the city and said the killings, along with a spate of recent attacks, were part of a “battle over Jerusalem”, Reuters reported Wednesday.
Abbas condemned the attack, which came after weeks of unrest fueled in part by a dispute over Jerusalem’s holiest site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary — containing the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest in Islam — and to Jews as the Temple Mount because the two Biblical temples once stood there.
A worshipper in the Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Jewish West Jerusalem said about 25 people were praying in a service when shooting broke out.
United States President Barack Obama said strongly condemned the violence.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama said too many Israelis and Palestinians had died in recent violence and called on both sides to lower tensions.
US-brokered peace talks collapsed in April after Abbas signed a unity deal with the Islamist group Hamas that advocates Israel’s destruction.
Palestinians have also been angered by continued Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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