UN Security Council condemns Jerusalem `terrorist attack`

The UN Security Council on Wednesday strongly condemned the "despicable terrorist attack" on a Jerusalem synagogue that left five dead and called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restore calm.

Four rabbis and a policeman were killed Tuesday after two Palestinians wielding meat cleavers and a pistol launched a rare assault on a place of worship in West Jerusalem.

In a unanimous statement, the 15-member council expressed concern over rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions and stressed the importance of condemning the violence after Hamas hailed the attack.

The council "encouraged Israeli and Palestinian leaders and citizens to work together to lower tension, reject violence, avoid all provocations and seek a path toward peace."

In a reference apparently directed at Israel over possible reprisals, the council "reminded states that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law."

Diplomats said the statement was issued following discussions with the United States, which consulted with Israel over the wording.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack on Tuesday with a statement calling on both sides to "make the difficult decisions" needed to revive the peace process.