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‘People were trying to fight but didn’t have a chance’

Wounded worshipers were being assisted by paramedics as a bloodied butcher’s knife lay near the scene of the attack.

“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 Israeli Channel 2 TV. He declined to give his last name.

Yosef Posternak, who was at the synagogue at the time of the attack, told Israel Radio that some 25 worshipers were inside when the attackers entered.

“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,” he said.

“There were people running from the synagogue, and a man sitting on the pavement covered in blood, it looked like he had been stabbed,” said local resident Sarah Abrahams, who was walking past when it happened.

“Two people came out with their faces half missing, looking like they’d been attacked with knives,” she said as hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews pressed up against the police tape, a few chanting “Death to terrorists.”

Fighting back tears, Moshe Eliezer said he had narrowly avoided being at the scene after oversleeping.

“This is a yeshiva community. Ninety percent don’t serve in the army. We’re not violent,” he said.

— AP, AFP

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