At least one dead and 19 injured by two explosions at bus stops in Jerusalem | International
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At least one person has died and another 19 have been injured this Wednesday by the explosion, barely half an hour apart, of two bombs at bus stops at the entrance to Jerusalem. The Israel Police points to a coordinated Palestinian attack, reminiscent of the times of the Second Intifada (2000-2005), despite the lower explosive charge. One of the injured is in critical condition and two others are seriously ill, the emergency services have reported.
The first explosion took place around 7:00 a.m. local time (one less in mainland Spain), at the main entrance to Jerusalem through the Givat Shaul neighborhood. It is in which a 16-year-old teenager has died. The second explosion occurred half an hour later, at the Ramot crossing, a settlement north of Jerusalem, and has generated fewer victims.
“It is a type of attack that we have not seen for many years. […] There are signs that remind us of the past,” Kobi Shabtai, commander of the Jerusalem police, said at one of the crime scenes. Shabtai has indicated that it is early to determine whether it is “an individual terrorist or a cell.” Omer Bar-Lev, Israel’s Minister of Public Security, has indicated that they are still studying whether there are one or two people involved in the explosions.
The bombs were apparently activated remotely via mobile phones. They were relatively small by the standards of the Second Intifada, although Jerusalem had not experienced an attack of this type for years. The main thesis of the Police is that they were in backpacks that were abandoned at the stops and contained nails and other metallic objects to increase their impact. Security forces are searching bus stops around Jerusalem for other possible artifacts.
Itamar Ben Gvir, the ultranationalist politician who is negotiating his entry into a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu -winner of the elections on the 1st- as Minister of Public Security (in charge of the police), visited both places and urged them to charge him “a price very big to terrorism” and “resuming selective assassinations”. “I hope that soon we will form a government that restores security to the citizens of Israel,” he added, in statements to the press.
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No Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility for the explosions, although the Islamist Hamas movement has hailed them as “a result of the crimes of the (Israeli) occupation and settlers.” “We congratulate our Palestinian people and our people in the occupied city of Jerusalem for the heroic operation,” he said in a statement.
The explosions take place in a context of increasing tension between Israelis and Palestinians. This morning, a 16-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli soldiers who were protecting a group of Jews while they were praying at the tomb of the biblical patriarch Joseph, near the West Bank city of Nablus. In a statement, the Israeli army says it responded with fire when “armed suspects endangered the lives of the soldiers.” The number of Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank so far this year (more than 120) is unprecedented since 2015 and is already almost the highest since the Second Intifada (2000-2005). And on the 15th, three Israelis died in an attack in the Jewish settlement of Ariel, in the occupied territory of the West Bank.
A few hours before the attack on Wednesday, the Israeli Army briefly announced that the body of an Israeli civilian had been “extracted from a hospital in Jenin”, the city in the north of the West Bank where the young man was urgently admitted, along with a compatriot, after suffering a traffic accident in the area. “He is expected to be returned to Israel shortly,” he added.
The body is in the hands of the Jenin Brigade, a new armed group from the city’s refugee camp made up of militiamen of different ideologies, which has claimed “the kidnapping of the body of a member of the Zionist enemy” to exchange it for the corpses of militiamen. Palestinians in the hands of Israel. The Jewish State has negotiated on previous occasions exchanges of prisoners for kidnap victims, both alive and dead, such as in 2008 with Hezbollah for the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, captured by the Lebanese militia in the war two years earlier, or in 2011. with Hamas for the soldier Gilad Shalit. According to Israeli television channel 12, the Israeli Ministry of Defense has sent the message to the Palestinian Authority that it will recover the body “by hook or by crook”.
The local press has identified the dead man as Tiran Fero, an 18-year-old student who had crossed into the West Bank to repair his vehicle. Upon learning of the presence of the two Israelis in Jenin, about twenty armed men showed up at the hospital and took the body, Kan Eddie Fero, uncle of the fatality, told public radio. Being a Druze, a minority that serves in the Army, the militiamen suspected that he was a soldier in an undercover operation. Eddie Fero and his brother fled for fear of being kidnapped. They were able to return to Israel with the help of the Palestinian Authority security forces, in coordination with the Israeli Army.
The two main accesses to the northern West Bank from Israel have been closed sine diereported COGAT, the body of the Israeli Defense Ministry responsible for Palestinian civil affairs.
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