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Police officer injured in Jerusalem synagogue attack dies

Jerusalem : A police officer seriously injured in the attack by two Palestinians in a synagogue in West Jerusalem has died, bringing the number of fatalities to five Israelis, plus the two assailants.

The policeman, identified as Zidan Saif, 30, was one of the first officers who arrived at the scene where he was wounded in a gunfight with the attackers, media reports Wednesday said.

The agent, a father of five, will be buried later Wednesday in the town of Yanuh-Jat.

Four Israeli rabbis with dual citizenship — three Americans and one Briton — were killed in Tuesday’s attack by the Palestinians wielding knives, axes and a gun, police said.

The Palestinians were shot dead by police.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that he would respond “with a firm hand” to the attack.

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement applauded the attack and claimed it was a natural reaction to the crimes perpetrated by Israeli occupiers and settlers.

The synagogue attack was the latest in a string of incidents which have raised tension in the holy city since July when three Jewish extremists killed a Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem in revenge for the murder of three Israeli students by Palestinians.

Since then, there have been a series of protests, clashes between police and young Palestinians and attacks by Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the Arab neighbourhoods and the Old City.

Adding to the tension is a squabble over access to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount which is considered sacred by both Muslims and Jews.