11/18/2014, 00.00
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Jerusalem: deadly attack at a synagogue. A Palestinian "suicide"

by Joshua Lapide
Four Jews died and eight were injured. The two attackers were killed by police. One is on the run. A Palestinian driver found dead on his bus. Police claim it was a suicide, but Palestinians believ he was murdered.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Four Israelis were killed and at least eight injured this morning in an attack on a synagogue in the western area of the city. The two attackers were killed by police; a third suspect has fled.

The attack took place at the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue, on Shimon Agassi Street. According to the police spokesman, two assailants entered the prayer hall with knives, axes and guns attacking the faithful. The police killed them and identified them as "Palestinians from East Jerusalem." Other sources say that the two only had knives and axes - no guns - and the police opened fire against them.

Today's violence stems from an increase in tension in the city, with attacks by Palestinians - which have killed at least six Israelis - and the killing of several Palestinians by unknown assailants or police. During the night between November 16 and 17, a Palestinian driver was found hanged on a bus. Police say it's a suicide, and that there are no traces of violence on the corpse. But a Palestinian doctor suspects that it is a murder, and photos of the victim, Joussef Rahmani, 32, have been posted online with signs of bruising on the body, denouncing the killing as "racist".

The new wave of violence broke out after the injuring of Yehuda Glick, an ultra-nationalist rabbi who wants access to Temple Mount for Jews. The site is the third holiest in the Muslim world after Mecca and Medina; for Jews the esplanade is the site of the ancient temple of Jerusalem that the ultranationalists want to win back. But the status quo states the esplanade belongs to the Islamic community and Jews are forbidden to go there to pray.

Adding to Muslims fears of their holy site being seized are new decisions to build or expand Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and in the Occupied Territories, with the arson attack on a mosque in the West Bank.

According to the statesman pacifist Uri Avneri, there is urgent need for dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians to prevent slippage of the Arab world toward fundamentalism


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