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Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas after a deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday, saying it was the "direct result" of his incitement.
And he warned that Israel would act with a "heavy hand" against those responsible for organising the deadly attack, in which two Palestinians from annexed east Jerusalem stormed a synagogue with butchers' knives and a gun, killing four Israelis and wounding eight, one of them critically.
"This is the direct result of incitement by Hamas and Abu Mazen (Abbas), incitement that the international community ignores in an irresponsible manner," Netanyahu said in a statement.
"We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers," he said.
With the two Palestinians shot dead at the scene, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon vowed that Israel would hunt down those who planned the attack wherever they were and in whatever way necessary.
"We will act forcibly to restore security, and we pursue those who carry out such attacks and those who send them, wherever they are and in whatever way necessary, both inside and outside Israel's borders, if necessary," he said in a statement.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also laid the blame at Abbas's door, accusing him of turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious war.
"Abu Mazen is intentionally turning the conflict into a religious conflict between Jews and Muslims and the systematic incitement that he is leading against Jews ... is the order to carry out such abominable attacks," he said.
UN special envoy Robert Serry said there was "no justification whatsoever for these deliberate killings."
He renewed the UN's urgent call to both sides "to do everything they can possibly do to avoid further escalation in the already very tense situation in Jerusalem," a statement from his office said.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who visited the region over the weekend, said he was "profoundly shocked".
"That a house of God should become the theatre for such deadly attacks against innocent believers is a terrible transgression in a situation which is already extremely tense," he said.
"This adds a religious aspect to the numerous political questions which are still unresolved, giving an already serious conflict a dangerous (new) dimension."