Double explosions shake Jerusalem, killing 1 and injuring 14

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JERUSALEM — Two blasts were near bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least 14, in what police said were suspected attacks by Palestinians.

The first explosion occurred at a bus stop on the outskirts of the city, where commuters usually wait for buses. The second went off in Ramot, a neighborhood in the north of the city. Police said one person died from the injuries and Israeli rescue service Magen David Adom said four people were seriously injured in the explosions.

The apparent attacks came as Israeli-Palestinian tensions were high, following months of Israeli raids into the occupied West Bank prompted by a spate of deadly attacks on Israelis that left 19 people dead. The number of Palestinian attacks has increased in recent weeks.

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The violence also comes as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks after national elections and is likely to form what is expected to become Israel’s far-right government.

Police said their initial findings showed that explosives had been placed at the two sites. The twin blasts occurred amid the buzz of rush hour traffic and police closed off part of a main road leading out of the city, where the first blast happened. Video from shortly after the initial blast showed debris strewn across the sidewalk as the howls of ambulances blared.

“It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here,” Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was on the scene when the first blast happened, told Israeli Army Radio. “I saw people with bleeding wounds everywhere.”

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While Palestinians have committed stabbings, car rams and shootings in recent years, bombings have become very rare since the end of a Palestinian uprising nearly two decades ago.

The Islamist militant Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and once carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, praised the perpetrators of the attacks and called it a heroic operation, but declined to claim responsibility.

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

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and who is about to become Netanyahu’s police minister, said the attack gave him impetus to crack down on Palestinian attackers .

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“It’s time to crack down on terrorists, it’s time to bring order,” he tweeted.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed this year in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006. The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed are militants. But stone-throwing youths who protested against the raids and others who were not involved in confrontations have also been killed.

At least five Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks in recent weeks.

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