CNN reports: The deadly terror bombing that rocked Yerushalayim appeared to be “unrelated” to the rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel, Israel’s ambassador to the United States told CNN today.
Michael Oren said the rocket attacks probably have more to do with infighting in the Hamas-controlled territory of Gaza. However, he said, there has been an escalation in violence against his country.
“Israel has been under attack on several fronts,” Oren said, also citing the recent murder of an Israeli family in the West Bank.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Jerusalem terrorist attack Wednesday, which was caused by a medium-sized device in a bag that had been left near a bus station.
Authorities said a British tourist died and more than 50 other people were wounded in the blast near Jerusalem’s central bus station as the evening rush hour began.
As Israeli officials probed the attack, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates paid a visit there Thursday. Gates came to Israel after a trip to Egypt and was planning to meet with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, as well as Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The British Foreign Office said Thursday that the “next of kin have been informed” of the woman’s death, but didn’t disclose the woman’s identity.
All the people hurt in the blast were located between the bus station and a bus, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Wednesday.
Fayyad condemned the bombing as a “terrorist act” and said it was “disgraceful” and counter-productive to the Palestinian cause.
International condemnation — from Britain, the United Nations and the United States — was swift.
“The news of an explosion … in Jerusalem is shocking and deeply distressing,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.
“This appears to have been a callous and disgusting act of terrorism directed against innocent civilians which I condemn unreservedly. I would like to express the U.K.’s unwavering support for the people of Israel in the face of such horrific acts.”
Oren, noting the Palestinian Authority’s condemnation of the Jerusalem attack, criticized the comments. They “say one thing” and “do another thing,” he said.
He said prominent members of the Palestinian government recently attended a ceremony at a central square near Ramallah that was named after a “Palestinian terrorist who killed dozens of Israelis, including about 13 children.”
“The message gets out that killing Israelis is a good thing. We need to see not just words, but deeds.”
The Jerusalem terror attack comes amid hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.
Along the Israeli-Gaza border, Israeli forces have been retaliating against rocket strikes from Gaza into southern Israeli communities, attacks thought to be conducted by Palestinian militants.
At least 10 Palestinians have been killed since Saturday, including four militants and two children who died in an Israeli strike that appears to have missed its intended target.
On Thursday, five projectiles fired from Gaza landed in Israel and Israeli troops launched an airstrike on militants in the northern part of Gaza who were preparing to fire a rocket into Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Palestinian medical sources said three people inside a workshop were injured by Israeli shelling in the north. The IDF said there was no military activity at that time.
“We will not tolerate the harming of Israeli citizens, not in the towns in the south and not in Jerusalem … There will be ups and downs, not everything will end tomorrow, but we are determined to bring back security and calm,” Barak said in a statement.
Three Palestinians were wounded in the West Bank Monday in two separate incidents, including one that Israeli officials described as a “price tag” attack against Palestinians. “Price tag” attacks are actions taken by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and Palestinian properties as retaliatory measures.
The attacks come a week after five members of an Israeli family living in the northern West Bank settlement of Itimar were killed by an unknown assailant in what the Israeli military called a terror attack.