- 14 people were injured in two blasts at bus stops
- Hamas praises the attack and does not claim responsibility
- The blasts are reminiscent of the 2000-05 bus bombings
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 14 others, in what Israeli authorities said were attacks by Palestinian militants. .
Police alleged that the blast was triggered by a bomb planted at a bus station near the city exit during the morning rush hour. The second – about 30 minutes later – hit a bus stop near a settlement east of the city.
“There has not been such a coordinated attack in Jerusalem for years,” police spokesman Eli Levy told Israeli Army Radio.
The devices were hidden in bags, packed with nails, and the mobile phone appeared to be remotely detonated, Israeli public broadcaster Can Radio said.
Security camera footage showed the moment of the first explosion as plumes of smoke rose suddenly from the bus stop. Television showed debris strewn around the site and emergency services swarmed.
Ambulance services said 12 people were taken to hospital in the first blast and three others were injured in the second blast. A 16-year-old Canadian-Israeli citizen died in hospital.
The United Nations, the European Union and the United States condemned the attack.
“Terrorism is an end in itself, and it is unattainable,” the US embassy said on Twitter.
Canada’s ambassador confirmed that the slain teenager was a Canadian citizen and described the blast as a reprehensible act of terrorism.
Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now negotiating with allies from religious and right-wing parties to form a new government after the election, has said he will do everything to restore security.
“We still have the fight against terrorism, which has reared its head again,” the senior former prime minister said after visiting a hospital treating the injured.
In Gaza, a spokesman for the Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the Jerusalem blast but refrained from claiming responsibility. Abdel-Latif al-Khanua linked the blasts to “the (Israeli) occupation and crimes committed by settlers”.
The explosions, which echoed bus bombings that were a hallmark of the 2000-05 Palestinian uprising, followed months of rising tensions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank after an Israeli military crackdown on deadly Palestinian attacks. In Israel.
The coordinated blasts are one step in a series of attacks this year, including the stabbing, shooting and car-ramming of a Palestinian lone wolf.
Israeli ultra-nationalist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of Netanyahu’s potential allies, called for tougher action, saying security forces should “go door-to-door looking for guns and restore our defense power”.
Separately, Palestinian gunmen took the body of an Israeli high school student from a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin late Tuesday, the teenager’s uncle told Kan Radio.
The man’s father and some Israeli officials said the gunmen took off life support before taking him away.
A diplomatic source told Reuters that the United Nations was mediating the release of the body and that the Israeli military hoped it would happen soon.
The reasons for seizing the body are not clear.
Reporting by Mayan Lubel and Emily Rose in Jerusalem; Nidal al-Mughrabi of Gaza; Ali Sawafta of Ramallah, by James McKenzie and Mayan Lubell; Editing by Kim Coghill, Robert Birzel, Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich
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