Israel is to ease controls on carrying weapons for self-defence after a deadly Palestinian attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Tuesday.
"In the coming hours, I will ease restrictions on carrying weapons," he said in remarks broadcast on public radio, indicating it would apply to anyone with a licence to carry a gun, such as private security guards and off-duty army officers.
Aharonovitch did not elaborate, but it is believed that under the planned changes security personnel would be allowed to carry their arms even when off duty.
There would also be a "tightening of controls on people coming and going" from areas of annexed Arab east Jerusalem where there have been almost daily clashes between police and stonethrowers for nearly five months.
Tuesday's attack saw two Palestinians from the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber bursting into a synagogue during morning prayer and attacking worshippers with meat cleavers and a gun.
They killed four people and wounded another eight before being shot dead by police.
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Shortly after the attack, clashes erupted in Jabal Mukaber and police could be seen sealing off the main entrance to the neighbourhood with concrete blocks, an AFP correspondent said.
Aharonovitch also vowed to destroy the homes of those behind Tuesday's attack.
On November 6, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the demolition of the homes of Palestinians after one used a car to ram pedestrians, killing a police officer and an Israeli teenager.
Israel police commissioner Yohanan Danino pledged to beef up security around both synagogues and mosques, and said police would be on alert to prevent further violence and any revenge attacks.
"This is one of the worst attacks we've seen in recent years," he said in a statement.
"I have ordered the district police commanders to prepare for any possibility of revenge attacks, price tags and nationally-motivated disturbances," he said. Price tag is a euphemism for hate crime by Jewish extremists targeting Palestinians and Arabs.
"We must increase patrols around mosques, synagogues and holy places."