Jerusalem bus bomb_311 (r).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A woman was killed and 39 people were wounded on Wednesday afternoon when a bag
exploded next to a bus stop across the street from the Jerusalem International
Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’uma), near the capital’s western
It was the first serious terrorist bombing in the city since
2004, and for many residents it brought back terrible memories of the second
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The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF are
investigating whether the attacker was from the West Bank.
paramedics treated a total of 50 people. Three were critically wounded in the
explosion itself, and one, a 60-year-old woman believed to be a tourist,
succumbed to her wounds later in the afternoon at Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical
Center. Her identity was not released for publication by press time.
people were moderately wounded and 23 were lightly hurt from the flying shrapnel
of steel balls, nails and screws that littered the ground around the site. The
remaining people were treated for shock.
The wounded were also taken to
the Hadassah-Mount Scopus, Bikur Cholim and Shaare Zedek
Police were looking for the person who left the bag with the
bomb, and there were reports that witnesses said they’d be able to identify
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said the device
weighed between one and two kilograms and was packed with shrapnel.
bombs are usually detonated by a timer or a cellular phone, meaning the
terrorist who brought it to the bus stop likely was not far away when it blew
Islamic Jihad vowed on Tuesday to avenge a series of Israeli air
strikes in the Gaza Strip, and Hamas is known to have significant infrastructure
in the west Bank.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak returned to Israel
Wednesday afternoon from the United States and immediately met with IDF Chief of
General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz to discuss the bombing.
officials said the small amount of explosives used was a possible indication of
the difficulty terrorist groups were encountering in obtaining explosives and
Police said there had been no specific alerts for
terrorist attacks in Jerusalem or any other cities prior to the attack, although
police had increased patrols around the Purim holiday. Two buses, including a
No. 74 bus en route to Har Nof from Har Homa, were damaged in the
Insp.-Gen. Dudi Cohen said police were investigating whether
the bus bombing was connected to a pipe bomb that exploded on Derech Hebron a
few weeks ago, seriously wounding a municipal sanitation worker.
the public to be more aware, to report anything to the police about any
suspicious packages or suspicious people. There are enough policemen to be able
to get to every area,” said Cohen.
Mayor Nir Barkat was quickly at the
scene of the attack.
“The key is to move on with our lives and our normal
plans,” he said. “This alone will decrease the motivation of terrorists to carry
out attacks. We need to get back to our routine as quickly as
Barkat said the first annual Jerusalem Marathon would take
place as scheduled on Friday and that he was still planning to be one of the
runners. He called Wednesday’s incident a “cowardly terrorist attack” but said
that in 99 percent of the cases, the terrorists are found.
haredim gathered at the scene of the bombing, hampering police efforts to reopen
the road to traffic two hours after the attack.
They chanted “Death to
Arabs!” and at one point tried to re-block the road. They refused to evacuate
the area for hours following the attack.
On Wednesday evening, top police
officials held a debriefing that ended with a decision to put police on the
highest state of alert and to send reinforcements to the Jerusalem District and
the rocketstricken Southern District.
Police officers will be deployed to
busy areas to increase the personal security of the public.
evaluations will be held by all security and emergency
Wednesday’s meeting was attended by Jerusalem’s police chief,
Cmdr. Ilan Franco, as well as Cmdr. Nissim Mor, who heads the Operations Branch,
and additional senior officers.
At the same time, an evaluation meeting
held in the police’s Central District, headed by Cmdr. Bentsi Sao, concluded
with an order to all officers to be on the lookout for suspicious items and
The police’s 100 emergency telephone service will be beefed
up with additional operators.
The public can call the Jerusalem Police at
(02) 531-4600 or the Jerusalem Municipality hotline at 106 for more information.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.