Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to win a “battle for Jerusalem” after Tuesday’s deadly attack on a West Jerusalem synagogue in which two Palestinians killed four rabbis before being shot dead. A policeman later died of his wounds. Netanyahu vowed to “settle the score with every terrorist,” saying that those “who want to uproot us from our state and capital… will not succeed.” Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest in Jerusalem for six years. There were about 25 worshippers in the synagogue at the time, and at least seven people also were seriously wounded. Netanyahu ordered the homes of the attackers to be destroyed, saying: “We are in a battle over Jerusalem, our eternal capital.” The rabbis were murdered as they prayed by the Palesinians, who were armed with guns, knives, and axes. Three of the victims were U.S. citizens and the fourth was a British citizen.
The attack carried religious overtones: the rabbis’ ritual garments and prayer books were covered in blood, and the Palestinians were said to be motivated by what they saw as Jewish threats to the holy site where Islam’s Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock rest. Many Palestinians celebrated the murders: in Gaza City, people fired celebratory gunshots in the air and a mosque praised the attackers from a loudspeaker. Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine praised the terrorists, though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the “killing of civilians from any side.”