Two explosions at bus stops on Jerusalem’s outskirts on Wednesday injured 15 people in what Israel's public security minister has called “attacks” by Palestinian militants.
The explosions came as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu negotiates with allies to form a new right-wing government, including members of religious and far-right parties.
Abdel-Latif Al-Qanoua, the spokesman for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, praised the apparent bombings but stopped short of claiming responsibility. He said the bombings “resulted from the crimes conducted by the occupation and the settlers”.
State of casualties
One explosion at a bus station at the western exit from Jerusalem wounded 12 people, two of them critically. A separate blast at another station a short distance away in the neighbourhood of an urban settlement in the city’s east damaged a bus and wounded three people.
The explosions were about 30 minutes apart.
The Shaare Zedek hospital said it was treating six people who were wounded in the first explosion, two of them in critical condition, two seriously wounded, and two lightly wounded. Hadassah medical centre said it was treating six people from the same blast, one moderate and five lightly wounded, and another three people lightly wounded in the second explosion.
Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said he was briefed by the police chief on two attacks, while Defence Minister Benny Gantz is holding consultations with the head of the Shin Bet internal security agency and senior military officials.
The explosions carry echoes of the bus bombings that were a hallmark of the Palestinian revolt of 2000-05, the second intifada or uprising, when Palestinian militants planted bombs targeting Israelis at urban bus stations, including in Jerusalem.
Tension was exacerbated by repeated stand-offs between Muslims and groups of unauthorised Jewish worshippers at the Al Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
There were also months of tension in the occupied West Bank after the Israeli military launched a daily crackdown in the wake of a series of deadly attacks in Israel.