Israeli Officer 5th Death in Synagogue Attack

By Michael Ireland, Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

Zidan Saif, a 30-year-old police officer from the Druze village of Kfar Yanouch in the Galilee, died Tuesday evening, succumbing to wounds he suffered when responding to the terrorist attack at the Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in Jeruslam’s Har Nof neighborhood earlier in the day. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) says his death brings the death toll from the attack to five.

Rabbi sobbing

Rabbi sobs after 5 die in synagogue terrorist attack in Jerusalem.

Additionally, Yanouch’s wife and four-month-old daughter join the wives and 24 children of the four rabbis who were slain in the attack to the list of surviving family members. 

ICEJ says Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky, 43, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, and Rabbi Calman Levine, 55, all from Har Nof, and Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, were identified as among those murdered in the attack. Seven other men were wounded in the attack, including four who were still fighting for their lives in area hospitals on Wednesday.

The killers, identified as Abed Abu Jamal, 22, and Ghassan Muhammad Abu Jamal, 32, were killed in a shootout with police at the synagogue’s entrance.

“If you look at today, basically, ordinary Israelis cannot find a sanctuary in a synagogue,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor told CNN. “I have to tell the American people, and everyone else, Israel is on the front line in countering terrorism. If you’re not with us today, you’ll find terrorism on your doorstep tomorrow.”

“Jerusalem bows its head in pain and sorrow on this difficult morning,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said. “Jerusalem residents peacefully praying in a synagogue in the heart of Jerusalem were cruelly slaughtered in cold blood while wearing their prayer shawls. I promise Jerusalem residents that we will continue to fight terror with full force and we will do everything in our power to restore peace and security to Jerusalem.”

The mayor continued: “I call on Israel’s national government and security forces to provide Jerusalem with all of the support necessary to fight terror. I call on the international community to strongly condemn this horrific act. We will not surrender to terror. We will stand strong and defend our city from those who try to disturb the peace of our capital.” 

The U.S. Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) condemned in strongest terms the barbaric slaughter of innocent Jewish worshippers Tuesday in a Jerusalem synagogue. Wielding guns and meat cleavers, two Israeli Arab citizens murdered four rabbis and injured 13 others who were peacefully engaged in their morning prayers.

In a statement, ICEJ said: “Sadly, there have been numerous attacks of this nature recently, some using vehicles, in which Arabs have intentionally targeted innocent Israeli civilians, in one case even killing a three-month-old baby. Since Oct. 23, 2014, eight Israelis have been murdered and another 36 injured in the ongoing attacks.

“The Palestinian Arab leadership should be held responsible for their incitement of such violence through their calls for ‘days of rage’ against Israelis, their glorification of murderers as heroic martyrs and their fabricated accusations of Jewish desecration of the Temple Mount. It’s time the world stops turning a blind eye to this alarming trend and its dangerous consequences.”

“Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and we pray they will know the comfort of the Almighty during this difficult time,” said Susan Michael, U.S. Director of ICEJ. “Our sincere condolences for their losses hardly seem sufficient, yet we are compelled to let them know how much we care for them and that we stand with them in full solidarity at this time.”

The ICEJ also called upon the U.S. Congress to cut all funding to entities that condone these killings or honor those who carry them out. “American taxpayer money should not be used to prop up regimes and organizations which in any way support the cold-blooded murder of Jews,” ICEJ stated.

“We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and call upon all American Christians to join us in not only beseeching Heaven for intervention but to stand up for Israel now more than ever in her hour of distress.”

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Michael Ireland is a volunteer Internet Journalist and licensed minister who has served as Chief Correspondent and Senior International Correspondent for ASSIST News Service since 1998. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China and Russia. For a digest of ANS stories, log-on to Mike’s Monitor at


photo of Zidam Saif Rabbi sobbing

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