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Blasts in Jerusalem wound 11; suspected Palestinian attack


JERUSALEM – At least 11 people were injured in two explosions near bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday. According to the police, these were suspected attacks by Palestinians.

One of the blasts occurred near 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. Hospitals said they received about a dozen injuries, including two seriously injured and two critically.

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.

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 the twin blasts came amid the buzz of rush hour traffic and closed off part of a main road into the city, where the first blast happened.

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

While Palestinians have committed stabbings, car rams and shootings in recent years, bombings have become very rare since the end of a Palestinian insurgency 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,”

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

“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 protesting the raids and others 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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