2 men, suspected to be Palestinian, attack Jerusalem synagogue, kill up to 5: Police

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - Up to five people were killed on Tuesday in a suspected Palestinian attack in a Jerusalem synagogue by two men armed with axes and knives, Israeli media reported, the worst such attack in years.

Israel’s Zaka emergency response team said there were a number of fatalities at the scene. Mr Magen David Adom, a spokesman for Israel’s ambulance service, said medics were treating nine people, five of them critically wounded.

The Israeli media said four or five people had been killed. “We are viewing this as a terrorist attack,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Media reports said one of the attackers was armed with a gun. The police said the attackers were shot and killed.

Violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories has surged over the past few weeks.

Five Israelis and a foreign visitor have been deliberately run over and killed or stabbed to death by Palestinians in the past month. About a dozen Palestinians have also been killed, including those accused of carrying out those attacks.

Residents trace the violence in Jerusalem back to July, when a Palestinian teenager was burned to death by Jewish assailants, an alleged revenge attack for the abduction and killing of three Jewish teens by Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank.

The summer war in Gaza and a row over access to a Jerusalem compound sacred to Muslims and Jews alike have also been triggers for violence.