Israel blasts: One dead and 14 wounded as explosions hit Jerusalem bus stations

Israel blasts: One dead and 14 wounded as explosions hit Jerusalem bus stations

At least one person was killed and 14 others were injured after two blasts rocked crowded bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Israel’s police officials said the blasts were caused by explosive devices found at two sites near the city’s exit, according to preliminary findings.

The police officials suspect the twin blasts, which occurred about 30 minutes apart during rush hour traffic, to be Palestinian terror attacks.

But no responsibility for the blasts has been claimed by any groups yet.

The first blast occurred shortly after 7am GMT near the main entrance of Jerusalem in Givat Shaul, while the second blast took place shortly after 7.30am GMT at Ramot junction, another entry point to Jerusalem, reported The Times of Israel.

Emergency services cordoned off the first blast site immediately after the explosion.

Police officials reportedly blocked a part of the main highway leading out of the city.

Pictures from the site of the first blast showed debris scattered around the pavements as ambulance sirens blared. Another parked bus in Ramot was dotted with shrapnel marks.

“It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here,” said Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic present at the scene when the first blast occurred.

“I saw people with wounds bleeding all over the place,” he told Israeli Army Radio, which is operated by the country’s defence forces.

Health services said they had taken a dozen people to the hospital after the first blast, of which two had serious injuries.

Another three were wounded in the second explosion, police officials said. One of the wounded died in hospital, the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre said.

Israel police commissioner Kobi Shabtai told The Times of Israel that it was likely two attackers were behind the bombings, which he said were a kind of attack the country had not seen for many years.

He asked the public to be alert for packages that appeared suspicious.

Israeli officers are scanning the city for other possible devices, Mr Shabtai told the newspaper.

The midweek attacks on Jerusalem come at a time when tensions between Israel and Palestine are high again after the killing of 19 people in the aftermath of Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank.

Recent weeks have witnessed a spike in the number of Palestinian attacks.

At the same time, former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks after national elections and is likely to form what’s expected to be Israel’s most far-right government to date.