Tal Heinrich | November 24, 2022
Israeli leaders vowed to find and capture the terrorists that placed and remotely detonated two bombs at a pair of Jerusalem bus stops on Wednesday morning, killing a 16-year-old Israeli-Canadian and injuring more than 22 other people.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror group in Gaza, Mohammad Hamada, hailed the double attack as a message “to the occupation” and issued a threat that “the coming days will be intense and more difficult for the enemy.”
“The time has come for the creation of cells that are spread all over Palestine and are ready for a confrontation,” Hamada threatened.
After meeting with United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other senior U.S. officials on Monday in Washington to discuss the Iranian threat and the local deterioration vis-à-vis Palestinian terrorist groups, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi cut his U.S. visit short to return to Israel in light of the security situation. He returns on Thursday.
Israeli security forces are searching for the perpetrators and planners of Wednesday’s double bombing, which injured 18 and killed one at the first site and injured five at the second, and Israel’s leaders have pledged: “We will get to them.”
“The time of the perpetrators of attacks, the planners of attacks, and the financiers of attacks, is limited,” said Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday.
“They can run away, they can hide; it won’t help them,” said a formal statement by Lapid, now in his final days as Israel’s prime minister. “The security forces will get to them. If they resist, they will be killed. If not, we will deal with them with the full severity of the law.”
Lapid debriefed Israel’s Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu about the situation, with the incoming premier visiting some of the hospitalized victims and promising to “do everything to rapidly restore security to all Israeli citizens.”
The first blast mortally wounded Israeli-Canadian national Aryeh Shechopak, of Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood, who died from his wounds at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “saddened to learn about the death of a young Canadian in the terrorist attack in Jerusalem.”
“Canada condemns this violence in the strongest possible terms,” Trudeau wrote on social media, sending his condolences to Shechopek’s family and friends, and added that he is thinking “of those who were injured.”
The White House and the European Union both condemned the terrorist attack, with the U.S. offering “all appropriate assistance to the Government of Israel as it investigates the attack and works to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
“We condemn unequivocally the acts of terror overnight in Jerusalem,” the White House stated. “We mourn the reported loss of life and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
“As President Biden emphasized during his visit to Israel in July, our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad and unbreakable,” the White House said.
The E.U. also condemned the attack in the “strongest possible terms” with E.U. Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev stating on social media that “terror is never justified.”
Some of Netanyahu’s potential far-right coalition partners urged him to accelerate talks and form a government that will be able to respond to the terror threat. Negotiations have stalled in recent days over disagreements about ministerial assignments.
“We need to form a government as quickly as possible – the terror will not wait,” said Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben Gvir.
Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich issued a statement, saying: “The murderous Arab terror is knocking on our door; we must form a government immediately! I call on incoming prime minister Netanyahu to convene all leaders of the incoming coalition, so we can form a right-wing government that will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”
Miri Regev and Miki Zohar, Knesset members from Netanyahu’s Likud party also called on him to form a government quickly and act decisively against Palestinian terror.
“The enemies of Israel are hitting us because they recognize a weakness. Another murderous attack. Civilians are killed and injured,” Zohar wrote on social media. “The people of Israel expect us to restore peace to the streets and all arguments about one case or another are a mistake that we will pay for. Enough, the country is on fire.”
The only Jewish member of Knesset in the Joint List Arab party, Ofer Cassif, asked to send his condolences to “all victims of the occupation” in his speech at the Knesset on Wednesday.
“Yesterday and today two 16-year-olds were murdered – Aryeh Shechopek was killed today and Ahmed Shehada yesterday,” Cassif said. Palestinian outlets reported that Shehada was shot dead in clashes with Israeli security forces in Nablus in the West Bank on Tuesday night.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog said the Jerusalem terror attack this yesterday “won’t weaken us or undermine our right to live peaceful lives in the Land of Israel and in our state, including in Jerusalem, our eternal capital.”
Speaking at the official state event celebrating the Ethiopian Jewish community’s Sigd festival in the capital’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, Herzog said that Israel “will continue to stand strong and determined against hateful terror groups and despicable terrorists, and to prove there is no force in the world that will break the unified Israeli spirit.”