World

Twin blasts shake Jerusalem, killing teen and wounding 18


JERUSALEM: Two explosions occurred near a bus stop in Jerusalem during rush hour Wednesday morning, killing an Israeli-Canadian teenager and injuring at least 18, in what police say were attacks Palestinian attack.
The first explosion occurred near a normally crowded bus stop on the edge of the city.
The second one broke out about half an hour later in Ramot, a settlement north of the city.
Police said one person died from his injuries and at least three were seriously injured in the blast.
The victim has been identified as Aryeh Shechopek, a teenager who was attending a Jewish seminary when the explosion occurred, according to the announcement of his death.
Shechopek is also a Canadian citizen, according to Canada’s Ambassador to Israel Lisa Stadelbauer.
There are conflicting reports about Shechopek’s exact age.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been growing for months, amid nightly Israeli attacks in the occupied West Bank prompted by a series of deadly attacks on Israelis that left 19 who died in the spring. There has been an increase in recent weeks in Palestinian attacks.
The violence occurred hours after Palestinian militants stormed a West Bank hospital and arrested an Israeli citizen receiving treatment there after a car crash, according to the young man’s father.
That incident can increase stress.
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair tasteless said Israel would hunt down the attackers.
“They can run, they can hide – it’s not going to help them,” he said in a statement. “We will punish them to the fullest extent of the law.”
The development plays out like former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks following national elections and is likely to return to power as head of what is arguably Israel’s most right-wing government ever.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, a radical lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and who will become minister in charge of police under Mr. Netanyahu, said the attack meant Israel needs to take a tougher stance on Palestinian violence.
“We pay the price of terrorism,” he said at the scene of the first explosion.
“We have to get back into control of Israel, to restore our ability to stop terrorism.”
Police, who are looking for suspected assailants, said their initial findings showed explosive devices filled with shrapnel had been located at two locations.
Police said they deployed more officers to the city after the blast.
The twin explosions occurred amid heavy rush-hour traffic and police quickly blocked off part of the main highway leading out of the city, where the first blast occurred.
Video immediately after the first explosion showed debris scattered along the sidewalk as ambulances howled.
A bus in Ramot was riddled with what looked like shrapnel.
Yosef Haim Gabay, a doctor who was at the scene when the first explosion happened, told Israel Army Radio: “It was a crazy explosion. “I see people with wounds bleeding everywhere.”
While Palestinians have carried out stabbings, car crashes and shootings in recent years, bombings have become rare since the Palestinian uprising ended nearly two decades ago.
The US Embassy in Jerusalem as well as EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev condemned the violence.
The Islamist militant Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and has carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, has hailed the perpetrators of the attacks, calling it a heroic operation, but has denied responsibility.
“The occupation is paying the price for their crimes and aggression against our people,” said Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua.
Israel said in response to the blast it had closed two West Bank crossings with Palestinians near the West Bank city of Jenin, a rebel stronghold.
In Jenin late Tuesday, militants entered a hospital and pulled out an Israeli teenager injured in a car crash.
A 17-year-old young man from Israel’s Druze minority. His father, who was in the hospital room with him, said the fighters disconnected him from hospital equipment and captured him while still alive. The Israeli military said the young man was dead when he was captured.
“It was something terrible. It’s inhumane,” Husam Ferro, the boy’s father, told Israeli news site YNet.
“He’s still alive and they’ve brought him before my eyes and there’s nothing I can do.”
A Druze community leader told YNet that negotiations are underway about returning the body to the family. Palestinian militants in the past have carried out kidnappings to seek concessions from Israel.
Lapid said the fighters would “pay dearly” if the body was not returned.
Palestinian officials either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.
More than 130 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the bloodiest since 2006.
The Israeli military said most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But young men who threw stones against the Israeli military invasion and others who did not participate in the confrontations were also killed.
At least eight Israelis were killed in the latest wave of Palestinian attacks.
The Israeli military said Wednesday that Palestinian gunmen opened fire on forces escorting worshipers to a hotspot temple in the West Bank city of Nablus during the night.
The army returned fire and the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 16-year-old boy was killed in the incident.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. Palestinians seek territories for the independent state they hope for.

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