One Israeli killed, dozens injured in twin bombings in Jerusalem, hours after Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in Nablus

Israeli forensic officers gather at the scnene of an explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem (Saeed Qaq - APA Images)

Yumna Patel & Mariam Barghouti

Mondoweiss  /  November 23, 2022

One Israeli was killed and several others were injured in two separate bombings that targeted bus stops in West Jerusalem Wednesday morning, while in Nablus and Jenin tensions soar amid continued Israeli military incursions.

At around 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, reports emerged that an explosion had occurred near a bus stop in West Jerusalem along a busy highway. Initial reports show that at least 12 were injured in the blast, including at least four who were in serious condition, according to Israel’s emergency services. 

Around half an hour later, a second blast occurred at another bust stop outside the Ramon settlement in northern Jerusalem, injuring a handful more. Israeli media reported that the second blast was “controlled,” and that the injuries sustained were light, with people treated for shrapnel-related injuries and “anxiety.”

Later Wednesday morning Israeli media reported that at least 23 people had been treated for injuries from the blasts, while officials confirmed the death of 16-year-old Aryeh Schupak, who was injured in the first explosion.

Israeli police said they believed the bombs were remotely detonated, caused by nails and explosives packed into bags that were left behind the bus stops. According to initial reports by the Israeli state broadcasting network, KAN, the first bombing was conducted when a bomb was planted at the station. The second bombing was a result of an explosive planted on a motorcycle, which was later detonated.

As of Wednesday afternoon no one had yet claimed responsibility for the bombings, though Israeli security officials stated that an organized Palestinian group was behind the attack. 

Meanwhile, rightwing Israeli MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is likely to be Israel’s next internal security minister in the new government under Benjamin Netanyahu, visited the scene of the first bombing, and called on the Israeli military apparatus to “lay siege” to Palestinians in order to “restore our deterrence power.”

“Even if it’s in the West Bank, lay siege to them and go from house to house in search of guns and restore our deterrence power. We must return to be in control of Israel,” Ben Gvir said. 

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad movement released statements in response to the bombings, with Hamas calling it a “heroic operation” and Islamic Jihad calling it a “natural response to the occupation, its terrorism, and its criminal practices against the defenseless Palestinian people and its holy sites.”

“The operation says to the leaders of the Occupation and the leaders of the settlers that none of the policies of your criminal government will protect you from the strikes of our people’s resistance,” Islamic Jihad spokesperson Tareq Ezz al-Din said in a statement, adding that no operations or “assaults” on the “the sons and daughters of our people in Jerusalem, Hebron, Jenin and Nablus will go unpunished.”

16-year-old boy killed in Nablus 

The bombings in Jerusalem came after a tumultuous night for Palestinians in the northern occupied West Bank, as the Israeli military launched an incursion into the city of Nablus, killing a 16-year-old Palestinian boy. 

The young teen, Ahmad Amjad Shehadeh, was killed after he was shot with a bullet to the heart just after midnight on Wednesday, according to Palestinian health officials. Officials added that at least four other Palestinians were injured, including one in serious condition with a live bullet wound to the abdomen, and another who was hit with a sound bomb in the head. 

The killing of Shehadeh brings the death toll of Palestinians killed this year by Israelis to 200, including 51 children, making it the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the UN began documenting Palestinian fatalities in 2005.

Shehadeh was shot during confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli armed forces after the latter raided the eastern part of the city in order to escort a number of Israeli settlers into Joseph’s Tomb to perform prayers. 

According to WAFA News Agency, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas, and sound bombs at Palestinians as they confronted the soldiers. WAFA added that Israeli forces targeted a Palestinian ambulance with live ammunition. 

Believed to be the site where prophet Joseph was buried, Joseph’s Tomb has become a flashpoint in the city of Nablus over the years, as Israeli settlers frequent the site under heavy Israeli military protection, where prayers and other religious rituals are performed. 

The presence of the soldiers and settlers often sparks confrontations with local youth from the nearby Balata refugee camp and surrounding areas, who typically throw stones at the soldiers. This year, however, confrontations at Joseph’s Tomb have proved more coordinated and targeted, as Palestinian resistance groups have confronted Israeli forces with live ammunition on multiple occasions. During Wednesday night’s invasion, the Balata Brigade and Lions’ Den groups confronted Israeli troops with live fire.

Israeli raids on the Joseph’s Tomb area this year alone have resulted in the injury of dozens of Palestinians, including the killing of another 16-year-old boy, Ghaith Yameen, in May. In addition to Yameen, Israeli forces have killed 55 Palestinians in Nablus alone this year, often under the claim of targeting Palestinian resistance fighters.

A senior fighter in the Lions’ Den, Tamer Kilani, was extra-judicially assassinated on October 23 of this year when Israeli special forces planted an explosive device on a motorcycle. The Jerusalem bus attack on November 23 marked exactly one month since Kilani’s assassination. In a statement on their media channels, the Lions’ Den group hailed the operation in Jerusalem as a signal that Israeli crimes will not persist without retaliation.

Resistance fighters in Jenin withhold body of deceased Israeli citizen

Similar to Nablus, just two days before the bombing of Jerusalem, on Monday, November 21, Israeli forces had planned and executed a military operation in coordination with intelligence and police to arrest Rateb al-Bali in Jenin. 

In the process, Israeli forces injured three with live ammunition and killed 17-year-old student Mahmoud al-Saadi with a bullet to his abdomen while on his way to school

Less than 24 hours of Al-Saadi’s killing, resistance fighters from Jenin reported withholding the body of an Israeli citizen who had been in a car crash near the city on Tuesday, believing him to be an Israeli soldier. 

According to Israeli media reports, the young man was identified as 18-year-old Tiran Fero, from the majority Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel, outside of Haifa, approximately 53 kilometers away from Jenin. Fero was transferred to the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin city after getting in a car accident that left him critically injured. 

Fero’s friend, who was also injured, was reportedly transferred to a nearby checkpoint, where he was then taken by an Israeli military vehicle to a hospital inside Israel. According to reports, masked Palestinian gunmen took Fero’s body from the ambulance transporting him to Israeli custody and transferred him to an undisclosed location, though Israeli media reports speculated he was being held in the Jenin refugee camp. 

“Israel has proven in recent months that there is no place and no terrorist that it does not know how to reach, from the Casbah in Nablus, the refugee camp in Jenin, to arenas near and far,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated. Most Palestinians killed this year were non-combatants and civilians.

In the afternoon on Wednesday, a delegation of Druze representatives from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights headed towards Jenin in an attempt to negotiate the release of the soldier’s body, according to local journalists in Jenin and Quds News Network. 

Israeli officials also continued coordination with Palestinian Authority (PA) officials in an effort to secure the release of Fero’s body. The Palestinian fighters were reportedly demanding the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his body. Since the start of this year alone, Israel has withheld 22 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Israel has also held the bodies of 112 Palestinians since 2016, as a punitive measure against Palestinian resistance fighters. From Jenin alone, the bodies of 17 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces have been withheld from their families for burial.

With the attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday, alongside intensified confrontations in Nablus and the withholding of Fero’s body in Jenin, Palestinians expect a swift Israeli retaliation for the purpose of restoring “deterrence.”

“We have done nothing we regret,” resistance fighters from the armed umbrella group, the Jenin Brigade, reported through their media channels. “There is nothing more than death. Release our martyrs, and we will release your dead.”

Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss

Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss