Two Blasts in Jerusalem Kill 1 and Wound at Least 13

JERUSALEM — Two blasts in Jerusalem killed one person and injured at least 13 others during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, in what were suspected to be the first bomb attacks on Israeli civilians in more than six years.

The police said that the first explosion occurred at a bus stop in northwest Jerusalem at 7:05 a.m., killing one and injuring 10 others. Half an hour later, another blast at a bus stop about two miles to the north wounded three more.

Two people, aged 16 and 45, were seriously wounded in the first explosion, according to an ambulance service, Magen David Adom, which took them and five others to hospitals elsewhere in the city.

This year has already been the deadliest in Israel and the occupied West Bank since 2016.

Nineteen Israelis and foreigners were killed by Arab assailants in five attacks between March and May. That led the Israel Army to intensify its raids on militants in the West Bank, mounting a campaign that has left more than 100 Palestinians dead and prompted another surge of Palestinian militancy — most recently at a West Bank settlement, where a Palestinian attacker killed three Israelis last week.

Many of the Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year were militants, but some were civilians. They included a Palestinian American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot and killed during a raid in May, likely by an Israeli soldier, in a case that Palestinians saw as emblematic of their experiences under occupation.

The blasts on Wednesday occurred against the backdrop of efforts by Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli prime minister, to form a coalition government, following his victory in a general election on Nov. 1.

Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right allies, several of whom are likely to take senior roles within the new government, focused their election campaign on taking even tougher action against Arab violence. One of them, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has said that he wants to become the minister in charge of the police force, has proposed countering Palestinian violence by allowing police officers even greater freedom to shoot at perceived threats.

A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, praised the blasts on Wednesday but stopped short of taking responsibility for them.

The group described the explosions as a “heroic operation” that was a response to Israeli raids earlier this year at the Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The compound has housed a mosque complex for more than a millennium and is considered one of the most sacred places in Islam. Known to Jews as Temple Mount, it is also considered the most sacred place in Judaism and was the location of two Jewish temples in antiquity that were at the center of religious Jewish life.

In recent years, the Israeli police has made it increasingly easy for Jews to pray there, angering Muslims and upending decades of convention that allowed Jews to visit but not worship.

Rising violence by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank has also compounded the tensions.

Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting from Rehovot, Israel, and Raja Abdulrahim from Jerusalem.

Related Articles

Back to top button