Two explosions went off near bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing one person and wounding at least 14, in what police said were suspected attacks by Palestinians.
The first explosion occurred near a bus stop on the outskirts of the city, where commuters often crowd waiting for buses. The second erupted in Ramot, a neighborhood in the north of the city. Police said one person died from injuries and Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue service said four people were seriously injured in the blasts.
The apparent attacks came as Israeli-Palestinian tensions are high, following months of Israeli incursions into the occupied West Bank sparked by a series of deadly attacks on Israelis that killed 19 people. There has been an uptick in recent weeks 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 is expected to be Israel’s most right-wing government.
Police said their initial findings showed that explosive devices were planted at the two sites. The twin explosions occurred amid the hum of rush-hour traffic and police closed part of a main road leading out of the city, where the fist blast took place.
Video from shortly after the first explosion showed debris strewn across the sidewalk as ambulances howled.
“It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here,” Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was on the scene when the first explosion occurred, told Israel Army Radio. «I saw people with wounds bleeding everywhere.»
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 them a heroic operation, but did not claim responsibility.
«The occupation is reaping the price for its crimes and aggression against our people,» Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and who will become the minister in charge of police under Netanyahu, said the attack prompted him to take a tougher stance against Palestinian attackers. .
«Time to take a hard line against terrorists, time to bring order,» he tweeted.
More than 130 Palestinians have been killed in clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006. The Israeli military says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But young people who threw stones in protest against the incursions and others who did not participate in the clashes have also been killed.
At least five more Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks in recent weeks.