David Cameron has led world leaders’ condemnation of an attack by two Palestinian militants on a synagogue in Jerusalem as one of his former cabinet minister’s comes under fire over her controversial comments on the incident.
The Prime Minister labelled yesterday’s events, in which two Palestinians targeted worshippers with knives, axes and guns, killing one British man and four others, “horrific”.
He said: He said: “I’m appalled by the horrific attack on worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue. My thoughts are with the victims’ families.”
While sentiments were echoed in statements from US president Barack Obama, France’s leader Francois Hollande and the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Yorkshire Conservative Baroness Warsi faced criticism for linking the killings to tensions at a Muslim holy site.
She appeared to suggest the brutal murders had happened as a result of Israel’s actions at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which was blocked to Palestinians in recent weeks following clashes.
Dewsbury peer Lady Warsi, who stepped down from Government in August over its ‘indefensible’ position on Gaza, tweeted: “Israeli extremists storm Al Aqsa and intimidate worshippers. Palestinian extremists storm synagogue & kill 4 worshippers.”
The comments provoked a backlash and were quickly condemned by Grant Shapps, who replaced Lady Warsi as Conservative party chairman in 2012.
Earlier in the day Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US secretary of state John Kerry called on the Palestinian leadership to condemn the assault
Mr Kerry said: “The Palestinian leadership must condemn this and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language, from other people’s language, and exhibit the kind of leadership that is necessary to put this region on a different path.”
“Both sides in this conflict need to do everything possible to de-escalate the situation,” added Mr Hammond as Israel promised a “harsh” response.
Grandfather Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, who lived in north London before moving to Israel, has been listed among those killed by the attackers before they were shot dead by police.
British Rabbi killed: Page 15.