Explosions in Jerusalem leave 1 dead and several injured
Jerusalem — Two blasts went off near bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least 14, in what police said were suspected attacks by Palestinians. The first explosion took place near a bus stop at the city’s edge, where commuters often throng waiting for buses. Ramot, a northern settlement, was the second to explode.
Police said one person died from the wounds and Israel’s rescue service Magen David Adom said four people were seriously wounded in the blasts.
The apparent attacks came as Israeli-Palestinian tensions are high, following months of Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank prompted by a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people. In recent weeks, there has been an increase in Palestinian attacks.
The violence also comes as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks after national elections and is likely to form what’s expected to be Israel’s most right-wing government ever.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and who is set to become the minister in charge of police under Netanyahu, said the attack meant Israel needed to take a tougher stance on Palestinian attackers.
“We must exact a price from terror,” he said at the scene of the first explosion. “We must restore deterrence against terror by returning to control of Israel.” “
Police said their initial findings showed that explosive devices were placed at the two sites. Police closed off a section of the main highway leading to the city where the first explosion occurred amid rush hour traffic.
Video from shortly after the first blast showed debris strewn along the sidewalk as the wail of ambulances blared. Ramot’s bus was covered in what appeared to be shrapnel marks.
“It was a crazy explosion. Yosef Haim Galbay, a medical officer who was present at the scene of the explosion, said that there is extensive damage. “I saw people bleeding all over the place. “
While Palestinians have carried out stabbings, car rammings and shootings in recent years, bombing attacks have become very rare since the end of a Palestinian uprising nearly two decades ago.
The Islamic militant Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and once carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, praised the perpetrators of the attacks, calling it a heroic operation, but stopped short of claiming responsibility.
“The occupation is reaping the price of its crimes and aggression against our people,” Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said.
Israel said that in response to the blasts, it was closing two West Bank crossings to Palestinians near the West Bank city of Jenin, a militant stronghold.
More than 130 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006. According to the Israeli army, most of those killed were militants. Stone-throwing youths protesting military incursions, and others not involved with confrontations, have also been killed.
At least five more Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks in recent weeks.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Palestinians want the territories to establish their desired independent state.
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