JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the terror attack by Palestinian assailants on a synagogue in Jerusalem.
The condemnation came hours after the Tuesday morning attack on worshippers at the Bnei Torah Kehillat Yaakov synagogue and rabbinical seminary during services by two assailants carrying guns, knives and axes.
Shortly after the attack, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Abbas and other Palestinian leaders to condemn the attack, which he called “an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder.”
Abbas’ office later said in a statement that the presidency always denounces the killing of civilians by any party, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported, and denounced Tuesday’s attack.
“The presidency also denounces all violent acts no matter who their source is, and demands an end to the ongoing incursions into the Al-Aksa Mosque and the provocative acts by Israeli settlers as well as incitement by some Israeli ministers,” the statement added.
The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror organization in a statement posted on its Facebook page and other social media claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it a “normal reaction to the crimes of the occupation.” Four worshippers and an Israeli Druze police officer were killed.
The assailants, identified as cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They were killed in a shootout with Israeli police.
Police reportedly began searching the homes of the assailants after the attack and arrested some family members. Palestinian reports said the assailants were relatives of terrorists released in the exchange to return Gilad Shalit.