Two US citizens were injured in the back-to-back bombs that went off at two Israeli bus stops Wednesday morning, the US Ambassador to Israel said.
“Sadly, I can now confirm that two U.S. citizens were among those injured in today’s terror attacks in Jerusalem,” Ambassador Tom Nides tweeted Wednesday.
“As we head into Thanksgiving, I am grateful that they will recover. I pray for a peaceful holiday in the U.S., Jerusalem, or wherever you may be celebrating,” he continued.
Nides’ announcement came several hours after the first blast went off at a crowded bus station on the outskirts of Jerusalem around 7:06 a.m. local time. It was followed 30 minutes later by a second explosion in the Ramot settlement.
“It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here,” Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic, told Israeli Army Radio of the first blast. “I saw people with wounds bleeding all over the place.”
Officials said that 26 people were injured, and one victim, an Israeli-Canadian teen, was killed.
Aryeh Shechopek, 16, was on his way to a yeshiva when he was killed in the Ramot blast. Rabbi Aharon Kahana of the Harei Yehuda Yeshiva, described the student to Haaretz as “charming” and “gentle.”
Shechopek was reportedly not feeling well the morning of the attack and asked his mother to stay home, but ultimately ended up heading to school.
In accordance with Jewish tradition, he was buried just hours after the attack.
An initial investigation by police revealed that the bombs were shrapnel devices that detonated remotely. Both attacks are being characterized as acts of Palestinian terrorism.
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip and has carried out suicide bombings targeting Israelis, did not claim responsibility for the attack, but did praise the perpetrators.
“The Zionist occupation is paying the price today for its crimes and aggression against our people and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said.
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed that authorities would find the attackers.
“They can run, they can hide — it won’t help them,” he said in a statement. “We will punish them to the fullest extent of the law.”
With Post wires