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November 23, 2022 1:50 pm
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US, UAE Condemn Jerusalem Bus Bombing Attack

avatar by Andrew Bernard

Security and rescue forces work at the scene of an explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated America’s commitment to Israeli security Wednesday afternoon in the wake of a pair of bombings at two bus stops in Jerusalem, which left at least two Americans injured and a Canadian-Israeli Yeshiva student, Aryeh Shechopek, 16, dead.

“The United States stands resolutely with the people of Israel in the face of the terrorist attacks that occurred this morning in Jerusalem” Blinken said in a statement released by the US State Department.

The highly sophisticated bombing, the first such attacks in Jerusalem in years, left 19 others injured. No group has yet claimed responsibility, but both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised the attacks.

Earlier Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned the attacks.

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“We condemn unequivocally the acts of terror overnight in Jerusalem,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.  “The United States has offered all appropriate assistance to the Government of Israel as it investigates the attack and works to bring the perpetrators to justice. We mourn the reported loss of life and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. The United States stands with the Government and people of Israel.”

Other foreign ministries also condemned the bombings, including the United Arab Emirates, which established relations with Israel as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords. “We wish the injured a speedy recovery,” they said in a statement from their embassy in Tel Aviv.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly called the attacks “heinous.” “My heart is with the victims’ family, friends, Jewish communities, and those affected by this tragic attack. [Canada] stands with the people of Israel,” she said.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid wrote on twitter that this kind of combined attack was different from what Israel has seen in recent years and that he was increasing security force deployments in the Jerusalem area to prevent further attacks and pursue the perpetrators, who remain at large. “The State of Israel has been dealing with terrorism since the day it was founded,” Lapid said.

Lapid also raised the case of an Israeli-Druze man, Tiran Fero, 17, who was taken to a hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin following a car crash where Palestinian gunmen on Tuesday disconnected him from life support, took his body, and are now holding it for ransom. Israeli authorities have said they are working to recover the body. Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the abduction “an act of savagery by a savage.”

The incidents are part of a wave of violence that has seen the most deaths of Israeli and Palestinian civilians since the so-called “stabbing intifada” of 2015-2016.  Far–right Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has said he will seek the security ministry in the incoming government, said on twitter that it was time to take a “hard hand” against terrorism. “We must exact a price from terrorism, we must return to the targeted killings, we must impose a curfew on the village from which the terrorists came….It’s time to establish a right-wing government as soon as possible. Terror does not wait,” he said from the scene of one of the bomb blasts.

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