Two explosions at bus stops on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Wednesday killed one person and injured at least 14 others, health officials said. According to Israeli police, it appeared to be an attack by Palestinian militants.
The first detonation was from an explosive device planted at a bus station near a city exit. The second – about 30 minutes later – hit a bus stop near an urban settlement in the east of the city.
Police spokesman Eli Levi told Israeli Army Radio that the initial explosion was caused by a high-powered explosive device.
“There hasn’t been such a coordinated attack in Jerusalem for years,” Levi said.
The same outlet reported that the explosives were hidden in bags and that at least one of them contained nails to maximize impact.
“It was a crazy explosion. There’s damage all over here,” said Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was on scene when the first blast happened. “I saw people with bleeding wounds everywhere.”
While Palestinians have committed stabbings, car rams and shootings in recent years, bombings have become rarer since the end of a Palestinian insurgency nearly two decades ago.
Bus bombings have become more common in recent years
Security camera footage broadcast by N12 news showed the moment of the initial explosion with a sudden cloud of smoke billowing from the bus stop. Television showed debris scattered across the site, which had been cordoned off by emergency services.
The Israeli ambulance service said 12 people were taken to hospital after the first blast and three people were injured in the second blast. One of the injured, a teenager, died in hospital, Shaare Zedek Medical Center said.
The United Nations, the European Union and the United States have condemned the attacks.
“Terrorism is a dead end that will do absolutely nothing,” the US embassy said on Twitter.
The explosions, which echo the bus bombings that marked the Palestinian uprising of 2000-2005, follow months of tension in the occupied West Bank after the Israeli army cracked down on a series of deadly attacks in Israel. .
In Gaza, a spokesman for the Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the explosions in Jerusalem but did not claim responsibility.
Hamas spokesman Abdel-Latif Al-Qanoua linked the blasts to “the crimes committed by the [Israeli] occupation and the settlers.”
The explosions came as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu negotiated with allies to form a new right-wing government with members of religious and far-right parties.
One of his allies, ultra-nationalist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who heads the Jewish Power party, visited the site of the first bombing and demanded tough action against militants.
“Even if it is in the West Bank, besiege them and go from house to house looking for weapons and restore our deterrent power,” said Ben-Gvir, who hopes to be appointed police minister in the new government.
In another incident, Palestinian militants abducted the body of an Israeli high school student late Tuesday who had died at a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank town of Jenin after being injured in a car accident nearby, the uncle of the man said. teen on Kan Radio.
The Israeli army said it expected the body to be returned soon. It was unclear why the militants had taken the body and there was no direct indication of any connection between this incident and the bombings.
More than 130 Palestinians have been killed this year in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006. stone-throwing youths.
At least seven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks in recent weeks.