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Switzerland condemns attack at Jerusalem synagogue

Mourners attend the funerals of three of the four people killed in a bloody attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem Keystone

Switzerland has “vehemently condemned” the fatal attack against worshippers in a synagogue in Jerusalem in which four Israelis were killed and eight injured with a pistol and meat cleavers.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Swiss foreign ministry said there can “never be any justification for such attacks”.

The ministry called on all parties to continue efforts to maintain stability and to “refrain from any measures, provocations or acts of violence that could endanger the efforts to bring about a just and lasting peace on the basis of a negotiated two-state solution”.

Two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver and a gun killed four worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before being shot dead by police, the deadliest such incident in six years in the city amid a surge in religious conflict.

Three of the victims held dual US-Israeli citizenship and the fourth man was a British-Israeli national, police said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to respond with a “heavy hand” and again accused Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting violence in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu described the attack as a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers”. He immediately ordered the demolition of the attackers’ homes, as well as homes of Palestinians who carried out several other recent attacks.

Abbas condemned the attack, which comes after weeks of unrest fuelled in part by a dispute over Jerusalem’s holiest shrine.

A worshipper at the service in the Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of West Jerusalem said about 25 people were praying when shooting broke out.

It has been a difficult year for Israelis and Palestinians, with the failure of peace talks and a string of violent incidents that shows no signs of ending. 

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR