Up to 5 dead in suspected Palestinian attack on Jerusalem synagogue

JERUSALEM - Two suspected Palestinian men armed with axes and knives killed up to five people and wounded four in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before they were shot dead by police, Israeli media said, the worst such attack in years.

A spokesman for Israel's ambulance service told Army Radio medics were treating nine people, five of them critically wounded. Israel's Zaka emergency response team said there were a number of fatalities at the scene.

Israeli media said four or five people had been killed.

"We are viewing this as a terrorist attack," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Media reports said one of the attackers was armed with a gun.

Violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories has surged over the past few weeks.

Five Israelis and a foreign visitor have been deliberately run over and killed or stabbed to death by Palestinians in the past month. About a dozen Palestinians have also been killed, including those accused of carrying out those attacks.

Residents trace the violence in Jerusalem back to July, when a Palestinian teenager was burned to death by Jewish assailants, an alleged revenge attack for the abduction and killing of three Jewish teens by Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank.

The summer war in Gaza and a row over access to a Jerusalem compound sacred to Muslims and Jews alike have also been triggers for violence.