3 Americans killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue

One of the victims is the son of the founder of the Harvard Center for Jewish Studies

Paramedics wipe the blood from pavement outside a synagogue after a shooting attack in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Two Palestinian cousins stormed a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, attacking worshippers with meat cleavers and a gun during morning prayers and killing four people in the city’s bloodiest attack in years. The attackers were killed in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

LONDON (AP) — The U.S. State Department has identified three Americans among those killed in an attack Tuesday at a synagogue in Israel.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki named the three U.S. citizens as Mosheh Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky and Cary William Levine. Boston NBC affiliate WHDH-TV reports that Twersky is a rabbi who is the son of Isadore Twersky, who founded the Harvard Center for Jewish Studies.

Secretary of State John Kerry, traveling in London, condemned the attack on “innocent people who had come to worship.”

Kerry demanded that the Palestinian leadership take immediate steps to end incitement to violence as Israeli-Palestinian tensions soared.

“This morning in Jerusalem, Palestinians attacked Jews who were praying in a synagogue,” he said shortly after Israeli authorities reported that two Palestinians had stormed the synagogue, attacking worshippers with knives, axes and guns, and killed four people before being killed in a shootout with police.

Kerry spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express condolences and offer support. Following a meeting in London with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Kerry spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and expressed support for his statement condemning the attacks while urging him to do everything possible to de-escalate tension. He agreed to stay in close touch with both leaders.

Last week, Kerry had traveled to the Jordanian capital and won commitments from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II, who serves as the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, to reduce tensions.

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