Reuters: JERUSALEM – Up to 15 people were injured by two explosions at bus stations on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Wednesday, according to emergency services, in what Israeli police said seemed to be an attack by Palestinian terrorists. They attributed the first explosion to a bomb hidden at a bus stop near the city’s exit, and the second, which occurred shortly after, struck a bus stop in the vicinity of an urban area in the city’s east. About 30 minutes apart, the explosives appeared to be part of a Palestinian attack, according to the police.
Television footage showed that the first bomb site, which emergency services had sealed off, was covered in rubble. Although there were no early reports of fatalities, health services stated that 12 persons from the first blast had been sent to the hospital, at least two of whom had suffered critical injuries. According to the authorities, the second explosion injured at least three persons.
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The explosions, which are reminiscent of the bus bombings that characterized the Palestinian uprising of 2000–2005, come after months of unrest in the occupied West Bank following a crackdown by the Israeli military in response to a string of deadly attacks in Israel. Repeated confrontations between Muslims and uninvited Jewish worshipers at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, also known to Jews as the Temple Mount, have heightened tension.
The purported bombings were praised by a Hamas official, who refrained from taking responsibility nevertheless. The bombings “resulted from the atrocities done by the occupation and the settlements,” according to Abdel-Latif Al-Qanoua, a spokesman for Hamas. The explosions occurred as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu bargained with supporters to build a new right-wing cabinet that would include representatives from extreme-right and religious parties.