Explosions at two bus stops near entrances to Jerusalem; 14 injured, 2 critically

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Two explosions at two bus stops near entrances to Jerusalem on Wednesday morning left at least 14 people hurt, including two critically, police and medics said.

The first explosion occurred close to the main entrance of Jerusalem in Givat Shaul, shortly after 7 a.m., peak commuter hour.

Eleven people were injured in the blast, including two critically and two seriously, medical officials said.

The victims were taken to the Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Ein Kerem hospitals in the city.

A second blast occurred shortly after 7:30 a.m., at the Ramot junction, another entrance to Jerusalem.

Three people were lightly hurt by shrapnel in the second explosion, medics said.

An Israeli forensic expert works at scene of an explosion in Jerusalem at a bus stop on November 23, 2022. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

The explosions were thought to have been caused by an explosive device left in bags, according to initial Hebrew-language media reports.

Visiting the scene, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said there may have been two attackers.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Security services were sweeping the area in an attempt to find any suspects connected to the explosions.

Police said they had closed off the Route 1 highway following the first blast.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev spoke with the police chief, and was expected to visit the scenes of the attacks, his office said.

Israeli security forces walk in Jerusalem following an explosion at a bus stop, November 23, 2022 (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

The explosions came amid heightened tensions, following a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 29 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year.

In recent months there have been several stabbing and attempted stabbing attacks in Jerusalem, mostly in the Old City. Last month, a Palestinian gunman killed an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint near Jerusalem.

In the spring, the military launched a major anti-terror offensive in West Bank following the attacks.

The operation has netted more than 2,000 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left over 130 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

Bombings on buses and in public places were a hallmark of the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005, but mostly subsided over the last 17 years, which Israeli officials attributed to increased security measures, including the West Bank security barrier, and better intelligence.

In 2016, the Hamas terror group was accused of bombing a bus in Jerusalem, leaving 21 people injured. And in 2011, a bomb hidden in a backpack exploded at a bus stop outside the Jerusalem International Convention Center, killing two and injuring dozens more.

This is a developing story.

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