Netanyahu vowed that Israel will “respond harshly” to the attack, which he denounced as a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke to Netanyahu after the assault and denounced it as an “act of pure terror and senseless brutality and violence.”

Three Americans were among four worshipers killed in a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday by a pair of Palestinians wielding meat cleavers and a gun and shouting “Allahu Akbar” in a brutal attack that prompted a vow from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “respond harshly.”

The Americans — identified as Aryeh Kupinsky, Kalmen Levin and Moshe Twersky — were killed along with a fourth person when the assailants, identified as cousins, stormed the building and began attacking people. Eight others were injured — one critically — before the attackers were killed in a shootout with police. The Times of Israel cited witnesses who said the attackers stormed the synagogue, in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood in the western part of Jerusalem, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is Great,” and creating a horrific scene of bloody carnage.

“I tried to escape. The man with the knife approached me. There was a chair and table between us … my prayer shawl got caught. I left it there and escaped,” a man who identified himself as Yossi, who was praying at the synagogue at the time of the attack, told Israeli Channel 2 TV. He declined to give his last name.

The attack was the deadliest in Israel’s capital since 2008, when a Palestinian gunman shot eight people in a religious seminary school.

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