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Twin Blasts Shake Jerusalem, Killing 1 and Wounding Several

Twin Blasts Shake Jerusalem, Killing 1 and Wounding Several

Wednesday, 23 November, 2022 - 15:15
Israeli security forces gather in Jerusalem following an explosion at a bus stop on November 23, 2022. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Two blasts went off near bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least 18, in what police said were suspected attacks by Palestinians.


The first explosion occurred near a bus stop on the edge of the city, where commuters usually crowd waiting for buses. The second went off in Ramot, a settlement in the city's north. Police said one person died from their wounds and at least three were seriously wounded in the blasts.


The apparent attacks came as Israeli-Palestinian tensions are high, following months of Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank prompted by a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people. There has been an uptick in recent weeks in Palestinian attacks, The Associated Press said.


The violence also comes as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks after national elections and is likely to return to power as head of what's expected to be Israel's most right-wing government ever.


Police, who were searching for the suspected attackers, said their initial findings showed that shrapnel-laden explosive devices were placed at the two sites. The twin blasts occurred amid the buzz of rush hour traffic and police closed part of a main highway leading out of the city, where the fist explosion went off. Video from shortly after the first blast showed debris strewn along the sidewalk as the wail of ambulances blared. A bus in Ramot was pocked with what looked like shrapnel marks.


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 US Embassy in Jerusalem condemned the violence, as did EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev.


The Hamas group, which rules the Gaza Strip and once carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, praised the perpetrators of the attacks, calling it a heroic operation, but stopped short of claiming responsibility.


"The occupation is reaping the price of its crimes and aggression against our people,” Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said.


Israel said that in response to the blasts, it was closing two West Bank crossings to Palestinians near the West Bank city of Jenin.


More than 130 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006.


The Israeli military said Wednesday that forces escorting worshippers to a flashpoint shrine in the West Bank city of Nablus overnight encountered armed suspects and opened fire on them. The Palestinians Health Ministry said a 16-year-old was killed in the incident.


Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians seek the territories for their hoped-for independent state.


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