A 15-year-old yeshiva student was killed and 22 people were wounded on Wednesday in two separate explosions near a bus stop in the Givat Shaul neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Israel's Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai says the kind of attack that took place in Jerusalem has not been seen for years, and police began a nationwide manhunt for those responsible for the attack. Head of the police operations division, Sigal Bar Zvi, said that the explosive charges were very powerful and of "high quality." She added that the devices were placed in a bush behind the bus station.
Police believe that the first charge was intended to be detonated during rush hour in Jerusalem, and that the second charge was planned to explode at the moment when a bus arrives at the station.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the charges were likely placed at night, a few hours before the attack, and were detonated remotely using a mobile phone. A gas cylinder was attached to the second explosive charge.
Officers are scanning bus stops in the city to seek out any other possible charges, and will continue to do so tomorrow morning as well.
The current security arrangements in Jerusalem have been bolstered, with the aim of increasing law enforcement's presence throughout the city and improving the atmosphere of security there.
The Jerusalem district police will also be reinforced with national and Border Police forces, who will help in the hunt for those responsible.
As of Wednesday evening, 22 people who were wounded in the attack were taken to various hospitals in Jerusalem, including one in critical condition and two in serious condition.
The 15-year-old victim, Aryeh Shechopek who held both Israeli and Canadian citizenship, was laid to rest in Jerusalem several hours after the deadly attack.
"I just want to say goodbye to my son Aryeh," the victim's father, Moshe, said at the funeral. "I want to apologize to him. God giveth and God taketh away. He was a child who taught us a lesson."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement, saying he is "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."
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The attack comes as Benjamin Netanyahu is working on forming a government following the November 1 Knesset elections. Netanyahu visited Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem following the attacks, saying that he "sends his and all of Israel's condolences to the family of the 15-year-old yeshiva student killed in the horrific terror attack."
Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who will likely become Israel's public security minister, called to renew targeted assassinations of members of Palestinian terror groups and demanded the immediate formation of a government following the attack.
Another far-right lawmaker, Bezalel Smotrich, also called on Netanyahu to form a government: "The murderous Arab terror is knocking on our door; we must form a government immediately! I call on incoming Prime Minister Netanyahu to convene all leaders of the incoming coalition, so we can form a right-wing government that will restore security to the citizens of Israel."
Israeli army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who is in Washington on an official visit, decided to cut short his stay,saying he needs to return to Israel in light of the developing security situation.
The White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement on the Terrorist Acts in Jerusalem : "We condemn unequivocally the acts of terror overnight in Jerusalem. The United States has offered all appropriate assistance to the Government of Israel as it investigates the attack and works to being 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. As President Biden emphasized during his visit to Israel in July, our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad and unbreakable."
Secretary of State Blinken added that : "The United States stands resolutely with the people of Israel in the face of the terrorist attacks that occurred this morning in Jerusalem. We express our condolences to the family of the deceased and wish all victims a speedy recovery. We remain in close contact with our Israeli partners and reiterate that our commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad."
Contributed to this report: Josh Breiner, Ido Efrati, Amos Harel, Nir Hasson, Yaniv Kubovich, Bar Peleg, Aaron Rabinowitz and Sam Sokol.