Teenager killed in rare twin attacks at bus stops

November 24, 2022 7:34 am

[Source: BBC]

A 15-year-old boy has been killed and 14 other people have been wounded in two suspected bomb attacks at bus stops in Jerusalem, Israeli police say.

The explosions happened at two busy areas on the outskirts of the city as people were heading to work.

The teenager who died was an Israeli-Canadian Jewish seminary student named Aryeh Schupak.

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Israel’s prime minister said it was an attack that was “different from what we have seen in recent years”.

The atmosphere feels volatile in a year of intensifying violence, as Palestinian gun and knife attacks have targeted Israelis, and Israeli military raids have killed Palestinian gunmen and civilians in the occupied West Bank.

No group has so far said it was behind the blasts. However, the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad both praised the perpetrators of what they referred to as the “operation”.

The first explosion happened in Givat Shaul, close to the main entrance to Jerusalem, just after 07:00 (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Israeli medics said the blast wounded 12 people, including the teenage boy who died later at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

About 30 minutes later, there was a second blast in Ramot Junction, another entrance to the city. It left three people with minor injuries.

At the scene of the first explosion, the pavement was scattered with debris. Masked Israeli security forces sealed off the site, while the pieces of a badly damaged bicycle were put into forensics bags.

One man from a Jewish ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood opposite told the BBC that he was woken as his building shook. Many of those waiting for buses were apparently from the community.

A small protest was also taking place with a sign held by young Israeli men calling for “revenge”.

The head of the Israeli police’s operations division, Deputy Commissioner Sigal Bar Zvi, said the bombs were made with “high quality” explosives and that they were placed in a bush and behind a wall at the bus stops.

Given the nature of the attacks, she added, investigators suspect they were masterminded by an organised cell.

Israeli media cited security sources as saying that both devices contained nails and were likely to have been detonated remotely.

Following a meeting with Israel’s security chiefs, outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Aryeh Schupak “was a boy who never wronged anyone in the world, and he was murdered simply because he was Jewish”.

He also pledged that security forces would “find these heinous terrorists, those behind them and those who provided them with weapons”.

“I want to say to the citizens of Israel: We will find them. They can run, they can hide – it won’t help them; the security forces will reach them. If they resist, they will be eliminated.”