Explosion rocks Jerusalem bus stop; 25 wounded

1 woman killed, Israeli authorities blame Palestinian militants for blast

Published: Wednesday, March 23 2011 1:35 p.m. MDT

JERUSALEM — A bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop Wednesday in central Jerusalem, wounding at least 25 people in what appeared to be the first militant attack in the city in several years.

The blast could be heard throughout Jerusalem and blew out the windows of two crowded buses.

Rescuers were seen removing bloodied people from the area on stretchers.

Israel's national rescue service said 25 people were wounded, including 15 seriously. No deaths were reported.

Meir Hagid, one of the bus drivers, said he heard a loud explosion as he drove by the site, located near the main entrance to Jerusalem and its central bus station.

"I heard the explosion in the bus stop," he said. He halted his vehicle and people got off. He said nobody in his bus was hurt.

Jerusalem suffered dozens of suicide bombings that targeted buses and restaurants during the second Palestinian uprising last decade. But the attacks have halted in recent years. Jerusalem last experienced a suicide bombing in 2004.

The bombing came amid rising tensions between Israel and the Hamas militant group, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks in recent years.

Israel's prime minister says his country will react "aggressively, responsibly and wisely" to a recent wave of Palestinian violence.

Benjamin Netanyahu issued his statement just hours after a bomb killed a 60-year-old woman at a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem. Earlier Wednesday, southern Israel was bombarded by Palestinian rocket and mortar fire.

Netanyahu said he spent the evening huddled with top security officials to discuss the situation.

He spoke to reporters just before boarding a flight to Russia, where he said he would discuss Israel's security situation with that country's leaders.

President Barack Obama is condemning a bomb blast at a Jerusalem bus stop that killed one woman and injured more than 20 other people. Authorities say Wednesday's attack was the first major one by Palestinian militants in the Israeli capital in several years.

Obama offered condolences and called on those responsible to end such attacks. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Israeli police blamed Palestinian militants.

The president also condemned the firing of rockets and mortars from Gaza in recent days and extended condolences to the family of four Palestinian civilians who were killed there on Tuesday. The four were killed by a wayward Israeli strike intended for Palestinian militants.

Obama stressed the need for calm and urged all parties to prevent further violence and civilian casualties.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS