JERUSALEM—Five people were killed and at least six others wounded after two Palestinian terrorists armed with guns and axes burst into a synagogue in the Har Nof section of Jerusalem. The terrorists were killed in a gunfight with Israeli police.

There was panic during morning prayers in the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue, part of a yeshivah complex on Agassi Street, as the terrorists entered at around 7 a.m., and began shooting and slashing. Photos from the scene show bloodied worshippers lying on the floor of the synagogue clad in tallises and tefillin.

Among the victims was Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, Rosh Kolel (head of Yeshivah) at the nearby Yeshivas Toras Moshe. Twersky was the elder son of Rabbi Yitzhak (Isadore) Twersky of Boston—renowned author; the Nathan Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University, who founded the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard; and a grandson of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Rosh Yeshiva of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at Yeshiva University in New York City.

The levaya (funeral procession) for Rabbi Twersky began at 2 p.m. at Yeshivas Beis HaTalmud, proceeding to Har Menuchot.

The other victims who were in the synagogue were identified as Rabbi Kalman Levine, 55; Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68; and Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, all of Jerusalem. Their funeral processions departed from Har Nof at 3 p.m.

Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Levine and Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky had dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, while Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg was an Israeli and British citizen, according to police. All four lived on the same street in Har Nof.

Israeli police officer Zidan Sayif, 27, of the Druze village of Yanuch-Jat in the Galilee, was one of the first to arrive at the scene, and was said to have engaged and distracted the attackers from the worshippers. He later died of his wounds at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

Massacre With Knives and Axes

“There were roughly 30 people in the synagogue, and the terrorists attacked then with axes, knives and pistols,” said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

Those who were inside the synagogue and first responders reported a scene of unimaginable brutality.

“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,” Yossi, who was praying at the synagogue at the time of the attack told Israel’s Channel 2.

Yosef Posternak, who was inside the synagogue, told Israel Radio: “I saw people lying on the floor, blood everywhere. People were trying to fight with [the attackers], but they didn’t have much of a chance.”

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, head of the emergency response team Zaka, told Army Radio that “I’ve seen attacks with much higher death tolls, but the scenes this time were worse than any I have seen.”

Meshi-Zahav stated that he objected to the posting of gruesome images of the attack on the Internet, saying that they exacerbated the grief of the victims’ families.

Heightened Security Measures

“Police responded quickly and killed the terrorists in a gun fight that left both officers injured, one critically. We have a forensics team in the synagogue now,” said Rosenberg.

In the hours following the massacre, clashes broke out in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber after security forces closed in on the homes of Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal, the two cousins who carried out the terror attack.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch instructed synagogues to place security guards at their entrances, and said that requirements for gun licenses were being eased.

Rosenfeld added that heightened security has been implemented throughout the capital.

In addition, four Border Police reserve units have been called up, according to Army Radio.