TEL AVIV, Israel – At least one person was killed and 18 people were injured in explosions at two different bus stops in the greater Jerusalem area on Wednesday.
One person died in the hospital after suffering critical injuries, a spokesperson for the ZAKA rescue service confirmed.
Several people sustained serious injuries, Israel’s rescue service said.
The first blast occurred at a bus stop on the outskirts of the city, injuring 11 people.
Briefly afterward, reports emerged of a second explosion, said to have occurred at a bus stop in the Israeli settlement of Ramot, in the northern part of East Jerusalem. Rescue workers were at the scene to treat three injured, while a further four were taken to the hospital with stress symptoms.
Police said they suspected a combined terrorist attack to be the cause of the blasts. A search for suspects was ongoing, it said.
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid was due to hold an emergency meeting with top police and military officials at noon local time.
Police cordoned off a highway to Tel Aviv due to the explosions. The search for suspects was ongoing, they said.
Media reported on indications that the explosive devices had been detonated remotely. They were filled with nails and screws, according to the Jerusalem Post, which reported that the casualty was a minor.
Tensions between Palestinians and Israeli forces have been on the rise in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in recent months.
Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. The Palestinians want the territories for their own state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israeli lawmaker Yoav Ben-Tzur of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party spoke of a “return to the horror and the heavy and bloody days of the second Palestinian uprising Intifada.” Israel’s deterrent power was barely existent, he said.
At the site of the explosion on the outskirts of Jerusalem, far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir said those responsible must pay a “price for terror.” He called for a return to targeted killings and tougher prison conditions for Palestinian militants in Israel, among other things.
He also urged for a new government to be formed as soon as possible following elections in early November, noting that “terror will not wait.”
This year, at least 26 people have died in attacks in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including several soldiers and security forces. Just last week, three Israeli men were killed in an attack near an Israeli settlement.
More than 140 Palestinians have been killed this year in connection with military operations, in clashes or in attacks of their own, according to the Ministry of Health in Ramallah.
In a separate incident reported by Israel’s army on Wednesday, militant Palestinians kidnapped the body of an Israeli citizen from a hospital in the West Bank town of Jenin.
The 18-year-old civilian was in a car accident on Tuesday evening, after he and another Israeli crossed the Gilboa checkpoint, which is known to Palestinians as the Jalamah crossing, into the occupied West Bank.
Both were then taken to hospital, where the young man succumbed to his injuries and his body was later abducted.
The Israeli army now expects it to be handed over to the Israeli authorities in a humanitarian act, it said in a statement.
The town of Jenin is considered a stronghold for militant Palestinians, with frequent violent clashes with the Israeli army.
Israeli citizens are generally banned from entering Palestinian autonomous areas, but Israeli Arabs often drive to Jenin to shop as prices there are significantly lower than in Israel.
According to media reports, the 18-year-old was a member of the Arabic-speaking Druze minority in Israel which is considered loyal to the state of Israel. Unlike Muslim and Christian Arabs, many Druze serve in the Israeli army.