Israeli Security Forces Still Hunting for Leads in Jerusalem Bus Stop Bombings; 16 Year-Old Victim Buried
Edited by: Fern Sidman
Over 12 hours after two bombing attacks in Jerusalem, Israel’s security forces still do not know who carried out the attacks and which terror group they belong to, Kan 11 News reported, as per a report on the Israel National News web site.
INN also reported that security sources said that the lack of knowledge underlines the intelligence failures in connection to the attack, which was planned by a cell that has experience in producing explosive devices.
It was also reported that as part of the investigation of the attacks, a suspicion was raised – due among other things to the proximity of the scene to those areas – that the terrorists in question are residents of Jerusalem and hold Israeli identity cards, the INN report indicated. Though it is not yet clear which terror group they belong to and how prepared they were, security forces have clarified that “sooner or later, we will lay our hands on the terrorists.”
Meanwhile, the investigation into the bombings continues, and an emphasis has been placed on intelligence – activating agents, security cameras, and additional technological means.INN reported that footage from the scenes of the attacks has been transferred to the police, but none of it clearly shows any suspicious figures which are connected to the attacks and which can be identified as being behind the explosions.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that security cameras at the entrance to Jerusalem were not operational, leading to delays in the investigation of the attacks, as was reported by INN.
It all began as a routine morning in Jerusalem as rush hour commuters waited for buses to take them to work and school. But then, two blasts went off near bus stops in Jerusalem, killing a Canadian-Israeli teenager and injuring at least 18, in what police said were attacks by Palestinians.
The AP reported that the victim was identified as Aryeh Schupak, 16, who was heading to the yeshiva he was learning at when the blast went off, according to a notice announcing his death. Schupak was also a Canadian citizen, according to Canada’s Ambassador to Israel Lisa Stadelbauer, the AP reported.
INN reported that the first explosion occurred at a bus stop on Sha’arei Yerushalayim Street near the western edge of the capital. The second went off about half an hour later in Ramot, a settlement in the city’s north, the AP reported.
At least 18 people were injured in the explosion, including two in critical condition and two more in serious condition.
MDA and United Hatzalah emergency first responders have been dispatched to the scene to treat the victims, INN reported.
“At 7:06 a.m., MDA’s Jerusalem district 101 call center received a report of multiple injuries as a result of an explosion next to a bus stop on Sha’arei Yerushalayim Street in Jerusalem,” MDA reported.
“MDA paramedics are on the scene providing medical treatment to seven injured people, including one in serious condition and one in critical condition.”
The injured had been evacuated to three different Jerusalem hospitals, including Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center, as was reported by INN.
According to preliminary reports, it appears the explosion was caused by an explosive device concealed in a bag left at the bus stop.
INN reported that shortly afterwards, a second explosion was reported in the neighborhood of Ramot. Seven people were treated after the second bombing, including three who were wounded by shrapnel.
Police forces were deployed to the scenes of the explosions, closing Route 1 at the entrance to Jerusalem to traffic.
“We were at the MDA station by the entrance to the city when we heard a large explosion,” MDA paramedics Moshe Tobolsky and Lior Levy said, INN reported.
“We immediately headed to the scene in large numbers, including ambulances, MICUs and medicycles. two seriously wounded were lying nearby, a 16-year-old in the bus stop and a 45-year-old on the sidewalk. A number of moderately and mildly injured victims were ambulatory on scene. We rapidly conveyed the seriously injured in MICUs to hospital while providing life-saving treatment.”
“It was a crazy explosion,” Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was at the scene when the first blast occurred, told Israeli Army Radio. “I saw people with wounds bleeding all over the place.”
JNS reported that hundreds of people attended the funeral on Wednesday afternoon of 16-year-old Israeli Aryeh Schupak, who was killed earlier in the day in the first of twin terror bombings in Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Prime Minister Yair Lapid convened a security meeting on Wednesday attended by, among others, Defense Minister Gantz, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Ronen Bar and Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, as was reported by JNS.
“I would first like to send my condolences and the condolences of the government of Israel to the family of Aryeh Shechopek, of blessed memory. He was a boy who never wronged anyone in the world, and he was murdered simply because he was Jewish. I also wish a speedy and full recovery to the wounded,” said Lapid following the meeting, as was reported by JNS.
“This event is different from what we have seen in recent years. An extensive intelligence effort is now underway that will lead us to find these heinous terrorists, those behind them, and those who provided them with weapons,” he continued, according to the JNS report. “I want to say to the citizens of Israel: We will find them. They can run, they can hide—it won’t help them; the security forces will reach them. If they resist, they will be eliminated. If not, we will punish them to the fullest extent of the law.”
INN reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday condemned the double bombings in Jerusalem.
“Incredibly saddened to learn about the death of a young Canadian in the terrorist attack in Jerusalem. I’m sending his family and friends my deepest condolences. I’m also thinking of those who were injured. Canada condemns this violence in the strongest possible terms,” tweeted Trudeau, as was reported by INN.
Canada’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the Jerusalem attacks.
“Canada strongly condemns the heinous terrorist attack in Jerusalem that claimed the life of a young Canadian and injured many others. Our hearts are with the victims’ family, friends, Jewish communities & those affected by this tragic attack. We stand with the people of Israel,” it said in a tweet.
INN also reported that Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the leader of the official opposition, wrote, “Horrified to hear of the terror attacks in Jerusalem this morning…Conservatives strongly condemn these heinous attacks. We stand with Israel at this dark time.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday also condemned the bombings in Jerusalem, as was reported by INN.
“Earlier today, a Jewish teenager was killed and two Americans were among the injured in a horrific terrorist attack in Israel. We condemn the violence and my thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. We will always stand in solidarity with the Israeli people,” she tweeted.
The bombings took place as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks after national elections and is likely to return to power as head of what’s expected to be Israel’s most right-wing government ever, according to an AP report.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, a lawmaker who has called for harsher measures to be taken against Palestinian attackers and who is set to become the minister in charge of police under Netanyahu, said the attack meant Israel needed to take a tougher stance on Palestinian violence, as was reported by the AP.
“We must exact a price from terror,” he said at the scene of the first explosion. “We must return to be in control of Israel, to restore deterrence against terror.”