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Canadian teenager killed when twin blasts rock Jerusalem, 18 injured ” Alaska

JERUSALEM (AP) — Two explosions went off near bus stops in Jerusalem at the peak of the morning rush hour on Wednesday, killing a Canadian teenager and injuring at least 18 in what police say were suspected attacks by Palestinians.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Two explosions went off near bus stops in Jerusalem at the peak of the morning rush hour on Wednesday, killing a Canadian teenager and injuring at least 18 in what police say were suspected attacks by Palestinians.

The first explosion occurred near a typically crowded bus station on the outskirts of town. The second left about half an hour later in Ramot, a settlement north of the city. Police said one person died from their wounds and at least three were seriously injured in the blasts.

The victim was identified as 15-year-old Aryeh Shechopek, who was reportedly on his way to a Jewish seminary when the explosion went off, according to a statement of his death. According to Canadian Ambassador to Israel Lisa Stadelbauer, Shechopek was a Canadian citizen.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been rising for months amid late-night Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank, sparked by a spate of deadly attacks on Israelis that left 19 dead in the spring. There has been an upsurge in Palestinian attacks in recent weeks.

According to the young man’s father, the violence came hours after Palestinian militants stormed a West Bank hospital and executed an Israeli national who was seeking treatment there after a car accident. This incident could further escalate tensions.

The developments came as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held coalition talks following national elections and is likely to return to power as head of what is likely Israel’s most right-wing government of all time.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and is set to become police minister under Netanyahu, said the attack means Israel must take a tougher stance on Palestinian violence.

“We must demand a price from terror,” he said at the site of the first explosion. “We must return to take control of Israel and restore the deterrence to terror.”

Police searching for the suspected attackers said their initial findings showed shrapnel-laden explosive devices were planted at the two locations. The twin blasts happened amid the hustle and bustle of rush-hour traffic, and police briefly closed part of a main road leading out of town where the first blast went off. Video shortly after the initial blast showed debris strewn on the sidewalk while ambulances howled. A bus in Ramot was covered in what looked like shrapnel.

“It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here,” Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was at the scene of the first blast, told Israel Army Radio. “I’ve seen people with wounds bleeding everywhere.”

While Palestinians have engaged in stabbings, car rammings and shootings in recent years, bombings have become very rare since the end of a Palestinian uprising almost two decades ago.

The US embassy in Jerusalem condemned the violence, as did the EU ambassador to Israel, Dimiter Tzantchev.

The militant Islamic 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 does not admit responsibility.

“The occupation is reaping the rewards of their crimes and aggression against our people,” Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said.

Israel said it was closing two West Bank crossings to Palestinians near the West Bank city of Jenin, a militant stronghold, in response to the blasts.

In Jenin, militants entered a hospital late Tuesday and removed the Israeli teenager wounded in a car crash. The young man, 17, came from Israel’s Druze minority. His father, who was with him in the hospital room, said the militants stripped him of the hospital equipment and took him away while he was alive. The Israeli military said the young man was already dead when he was arrested.

“It was something terrible. It was something inhumane,” Husam Ferro, the teenager’s father, told Israeli news site YNet. “He was alive and they took him away before my eyes and there was nothing I could do.”

A Druze community leader told YNet that talks are underway to return the body to the family. Palestinian militants have in the past carried out kidnappings to solicit concessions from Israel.

Palestinian officials either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

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 were militants. But stone-throwing youth protesting the Israeli army’s invasion and others not involved in confrontations were also killed.

At least eight Israelis have been killed in the recent spate of Palestinian attacks.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that Palestinian gunmen opened fire on troops escorting worshipers to a hotspot shrine in the West Bank city of Nablus overnight. Troops fired back and the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 16-year-old was killed in the incident.

Israel conquered the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and Gaza, in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians are looking for the areas for their hoped-for independent state.

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Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Associated Press writers Isaac Scharf in Jerusalem, Eleanor H. Reich in Tel Aviv, and Jalal Bwaitel in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.

Alon Bernstein and Tia Goldenberg, The Associated Press







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