Jerusalem Twin Blasts Kill 1 And Injure 21, Israel Suspects Palestinians For 'Terror Attack'

Two blasts in Jerusalem, killing one and injuring 21, come at a time when tensions between Israel and Palestinians are high. At least 29 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks this year.

A bus damaged in Jerusalem bomb blasts

One person was killed and 21 were injured in two explosions at bus stops in Jerusalem in Israel.

Officials have said the two separate explosions appeared to be a coordinated terror attack. 

The Israeli government has termed the attacks acts of terror and have hinted it suspects Palestinian involvement in the two blasts. There has been a surge of Palestinian attacks in Israel this year in which at least 29 people have been killed in Israel and West Bank, according to Times of Israel.

The deceased has been identified as 16-year-old Aryeh Shtsupak. 

The attack also comes amid tensions between Israel and Palestinians over the abduction of a body of an Israeli man who died in a crash in West Bank. Tiran Fero, 18, died in a car accident in West Bank's Jenin on Tuesday and his body was snatched from the hospital by Palestinian gunman, said the military.

"A difficult morning in Israel with a deadly terror attack in Jerusalem and the kidnapping of a young Israeli’s body by Palestinians. We shall overcome," said Emmanuel Nahshon, Deputy Director General for Public Diplomacy at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), on Twitter.

What we know of Jersusalem bombings

The first explosion occurred close to the main entrance of Jerusalem in Givat Shaul, shortly after 7 am when people were on the way to their offices and students to their educational institutions. Seventeen people at the bus stop were injured in the blast, including two critically and two seriously, medical officials said. 

One of the victims later died at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, hospital officials said.

The footage of the first attack has surfaced on the internet.

A second blast occurred shortly after at 7:30 am at Ramot junction, another entrance to Jerusalem, which is normally jam-packed in the morning. Four people were injured in the explosion.

The devices were packed with nails to maximise casualties and controlled by nearly identical remote devices, the police said in its initial response.

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said that “this is a framework of attack that we haven’t seen for many years”. He called on the public to be alert for suspicious packages and said officers were scanning the city for other possible devices, adding that it seemed like a coordinated terror attack.

While Palestinians have carried out stabbings, car rammings, and shootings in recent years, bombing attacks have become very rare since the end of a Palestinian uprising nearly two decades ago.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, however, the Hamas terror group hailed the twin attacks.

“The action conveyed the message to the occupation by saying that our people will stand firm on their land and cling to the path of resistance,” Mohammad Hamada, a Hamas spokesperson said in a statement.

Israeli response to Jerusalem blasts

The main road leading to Jerusalem was closed as the police launched a massive search operation.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev spoke with the police chief and was expected to visit the scenes of the attacks, his office said.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz held an assessment with the Shin Bet security agency chief, deputy army chief, and other senior military and police officials, following the attack.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid was to hold a separate assessment later in the day.

The explosions come amid a tense phase of instability when concerns have been raised about a weakening Palestinian Authority and its slipping control over the West Bank.

The Israeli military has been carrying out a major anti-terror offensive in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank following the attacks which have left over 130 Palestinians dead.

More than 2,000 Palestinians have also been apprehended in these raids since the beginning of the year. 

(With PTI and AP inputs)