Two explosions near a bus station in Jerusalem killed a Canadian teenager and injured at least 18 others in the middle of Wednesday morning’s rush hour. Police said they suspected an attack by Palestinians.
The first explosion occurred near a normally crowded bus stop on the outskirts of the city. A second attack occurred about 30 minutes later in Lamot, a hamlet north of the city. One person died from his injuries, and at least three others were seriously injured in the blast, police said.
According to the notice announcing his death, the victim was 15-year-old Aryeh Shechopek, who was heading to a Jewish seminary when the explosion occurred. was a Canadian citizen.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have soared for months amid nighttime raids in the occupied West Bank sparked by a series of deadly attacks against Israel that killed 19 people in the spring. Palestinian attacks have increased in recent weeks.
The violence erupted hours after Palestinian militants stormed a hospital in the West Bank and executed an Israeli citizen seeking medical attention there after a car accident, according to the young man’s father. may increase.
The development comes as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in coalition talks after national elections and is likely to come to power as head of what is expected to be Israel’s most right-wing government. rice field.
Itamar Ben-Gubir, a militant lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and is set to become the minister in charge of police under Netanyahu, said the attacks were a sign of Israel’s tougher stance on Palestinian violence. said to mean that it is necessary to take
At the scene of the first explosion, he said, “We have to pay the price out of fear.” “To restore deterrence against terrorism, we must return to control Israel.”
Police searching for the suspect said initial findings showed explosive devices containing shrapnel had been placed in two locations. The two blasts occurred amid rush hour traffic, and police temporarily closed part of the highway leading from the city where the first blast happened. Debris was seen littering the pavement as ambulances screamed. Lamotte’s bus was littered with debris.
Medic Yosef Haim Gabay, who was on the scene when the first explosion occurred, told Israeli Army Radio: “I saw people with wounds and bleeding here and there.”
In recent years, Palestinians have stabbed, car-rammed and gunned down, but since the end of the Palestinian uprising nearly two decades ago, bombing attacks have become very rare.
The US Embassy in Jerusalem condemned the violence, as did the EU Ambassador to Israel, Dimiter Tzantchev.
Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the Gaza Strip and once carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, praised the perpetrators of the attack and called it a heroic operation, but fell short of claiming responsibility. .
Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Khanua said: “The occupation pays for its crimes and attacks on our people.
In response to the blast, Israel said it was closing two West Bank checkpoints to Palestinians near the West Bank city of Jenin, a militant stronghold.
In Jenin, militants entered a hospital late Tuesday and took away an Israeli teenage girl injured in a car accident. The 17-year-old was from the Druze sect of Israel. His father, who was in the hospital room with him, said militants cut him off from the hospital facilities and took him while he was alive. The Israeli military said the young man was already dead when he was taken away.
“It was terrifying. It was inhumane,” the boy’s father, Husam Fero, told Israeli news site YNet. “He was still alive and brought before my eyes and I could do nothing.”
A Druze community leader told YNet that talks were underway regarding the return of the body to the family. Palestinian militants have carried out kidnappings in the past and sought concessions from Israel.
Palestinian officials declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.
More than 130 Palestinians have died this year in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making 2022 the worst year since 2006. However, young people who threw stones in protest at the Israeli military invasion and those who were not involved in the confrontation were also killed.
At least eight Israelis have been killed in the recent wave of Palestinian attacks.
The Israeli military said Wednesday that Palestinian gunmen opened fire overnight on troops escorting worshipers to a shrine at Flashpoint in the West Bank city of Nablus. The army fought back, and the Palestinian Ministry of Health said he killed a 16-year-old boy in the incident.
Israel occupied the West Bank along with East Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians are seeking territory for their long-awaited independent state.
Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Associated Press writers Isaac Shaaf of Jerusalem, Eleanor H. Reich of Tel Aviv, and Jalal Bweitel of Ramallah, West Bank contributed to this report.