- At least 14 injured in two explosions at bus stops
- Hamas praises attack, does not claim responsibility
- Explosions recall the bus bomb attacks of 2000-05
JERUSALEM, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Two bombs exploded at bus stops on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a 16-year-old boy and wounding at least 14 others, in what appeared to be an attack by Palestinian militants, Israeli authorities said. .
The police blamed the initial blast, during the morning rush hour, on an improvised bomb at a bus station near the city exit. The second – about 30 minutes later – hit a bus stop near a settlement to the east of the city.
“There hasn’t been such a coordinated attack in Jerusalem for many years,” police spokesman Eli Levi told Israel Army Radio.
The devices were hidden in bags, filled with nails and appeared to have been fired remotely by a mobile phone, Israel’s public broadcaster Kan Radio said.
Security camera footage showed the moment of the first explosion with a sudden cloud of smoke billowing from the bus stop. Television showed debris strewn around the site, cordoned off by emergency services.
The ambulance services said 12 people were taken to hospital from the first explosion and three were injured in the second. A 16-year-old Canadian-Israeli citizen died in hospital.
The United Nations, the European Union and the United States condemned the attacks.
“Terrorism is a dead end that achieves absolutely nothing,” the US Embassy said on Twitter.
The Canadian ambassador confirmed that the youth killed was a Canadian citizen and called the bombing a “disgraceful terrorist attack”.
Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now negotiating with allies from religious and right-wing parties to form a new government after elections, said he would do everything to restore security.
“We still have a fight against terrorism which has reared its head once again,” said the veteran prime minister during a visit to the hospital where the injured were being treated.
In Gaza, a spokesman for the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, praised the explosions in Jerusalem but stopped short of claiming responsibility. Abdel-Latif Al-Qanoua linked the explosions to “crimes committed by the (Israeli) occupation and the settlers”.
The explosions, which echoed the bus bombings that were a feature of the 2000-05 Palestinian uprising, follow months of heightened tension in the Israeli-occupied West Bank after the Israeli army launched an operation following a series of attacks. deadly by Palestinians. in Israel.
The coordinated explosions appeared to be a step up from a string of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks by mostly Palestinian lone wolves this year.
Ultra-nationalist Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of Netanyahu’s likely coalition partners, demanded tough action, saying security forces should go “house to house to look for guns and restore our deterrent power.”
Separately, late Tuesday, Palestinian gunmen seized the body of an Israeli high school student from a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin following a car crash nearby, the youth’s uncle told Kan Radio.
The boy’s father and some Israeli officials said the gunmen took him off life support before taking him away.
A diplomat source told Reuters that the United Nations was mediating the release of the body and the Israeli army said they expected that to happen soon.
The reasons for seizing the body remain unclear.
Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Emily Rose in Jerusalem; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Ali Sawafta in Ramallah Writing by James Mackenzie and Maayan Lubell; Edited by Kim Coghill, Robert Birsel, Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich
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