Israel boosts forces in Jerusalem after deadly twin blasts

JERUSALEM – Israel’s police were boosting forces throughout Jerusalem on Wednesday after twin blasts shook the city, killing an Israeli-Canadian teenager and injuring at least 18 others.

The blasts were caused by explosive devices, according to a statement issued by the police. One of them went off at a busy bus stop near the entrance of the city during the morning rush hour while the second device exploded about half an hour later at another bus station in Ramot, a settlement neighborhood in northern Jerusalem.

The police identified the fatality as Aryeh Schupak, a 15-year-old Canadian citizen who was a student at a Yeshiva (Jewish seminary) in Jerusalem. He succumbed to his wounds in the hospital shortly after the blast and hundreds attended his funeral in Jerusalem.

Eli Bin, director-general of Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service, told reporters that at least 18 people were wounded, one of whom sustained critical wounds and two others were in serious condition.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed that Israel will track down the perpetrators. “The security forces will reach them,” he said in a video statement.

In an urgent security assessment meeting called by Lapid, it was decided to order the reinforcement of forces in the Jerusalem area in the coming days.

“The IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Shin Bet internal security agency and the police are deployed in the area at this very moment to ensure that there will be no further attacks,” he said.

State-owned Kan TV reported that the police believe the devices were planted at the scenes before dawn and activated via mobile phones. They included nails to maximize damage.

Large forces of police and paramilitary border police officers were searching the city for more possible bombs. Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told urged citizens to be vigilant for suspicious objects.

The attacks came as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding talks to form a new coalition government after his Likud party’s far-right allies won the parliamentary election on Nov. 1.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist parliament member who is reportedly expected to become the minister in charge of police in Netanyahu’s government, went to the scene of the attack and advocated for the “death penalty for Palestinian attackers.”

The incidents came amid nearly daily overnight raids by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. Israel said the raids were aimed at arresting suspects of involvement in a series of attacks against Israelis.

In the 1967 Middle East war, Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, all claimed by the Palestinians, and has controlled or blockaded these areas ever since.

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