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Israel: At least one dead, 14 wounded in explosions at Jerusalem bus stops

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By Euronews  with AP
Israeli police inspect the scene of an explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem, 23 November 2022
Israeli police inspect the scene of an explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem, 23 November 2022   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

Two bombs went off near bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing one and injuring at least 14 people, in what police said were suspected attacks by Palestinian militants.

One of the blasts went off near a bus stop on the edge of the city, where commuters usually crowd waiting for buses. 

The second went off in Ramot, a neighbourhood in the city's north. Hospitals said they received about a dozen wounded, including two who were critically injured and two seriously. 

One person succumbed to their injuries at the hospital, police said.

"It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here, " Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was at the scene when the blast occurred, told Israeli Army Radio. "I saw people with wounds bleeding all over the place."

There has been an uptick in recent weeks in Palestinian attacks.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions are high, following months of Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank prompted by a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people. 

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 be Israel's most right-wing government.

Police said the twin blasts occurred amid the buzz of rush hour traffic, and they closed a section of the main highway leading out of the city, where the first explosion went off.

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.

The Islamic militant Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and once carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, praised the perpetrators of the attacks, calling it a heroic operation, but stopped short of claiming responsibility.

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

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and who is set to become the minister in charge of police under Netanyahu, said the attack gave him the impetus to take a tougher stance on Palestinian attackers.

"It's time to take a hard line against terrorists, it's time to make order," he tweeted.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006. 

The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.

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