A 16-year-old youth was killed and at least 15 others were injured as a result of two explosions at bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.
The early morning blasts are the first in Jerusalem for several years and come at a time of heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said extensive intelligence work was underway and vowed that security forces would “find these despicable terrorists, those behind them and those who supplied them with weapons.”
“I want to tell the citizens of Israel: we will find them. They can run, they can hide – it won’t help them; the security forces will reach them,” he said after a meeting with the heads of Israel’s security services.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the two attacks, but both Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza enclave, and Islamic Jihad, another smaller militant group, praised them.
According to the police, the first explosion occurred at 07:00 local time at the bus station located at the Givat Shaul junction near the main entrance to Jerusalem. As a result, 12 people were injured, including Israeli-Canadian teenager Arye Shechopek, who later died of his injuries.
A second explosion took place half an hour later near another bus stop in Ramot Junction, injuring three more people. Both devices are believed to have been detonated remotely.
Attacks targeting buses and bus stations were a common tactic during the second intifada, the Palestinian uprising that lasted from 2000 to 2005, but have become rare in recent years.
Israel’s police commissioner, Yaakov Shabtai, said the incident was “complex with features we haven’t seen in a long time.”
“We cannot say whether it is now [both bombs were planted by] The same terrorist or two terrorists [attacks]”, he added.
The twin attacks are the latest in a string of violent incidents in Israel this year. Israeli security forces have been carrying out late-night raids in the occupied West Bank in recent months, following deadly attacks by Palestinians against Israelis that began in the spring.
Lapid said that in response to the latest attacks, Israel would tighten security in Jerusalem in the coming days and that the army, internal security agency and police had been deployed to make sure there were no follow-up attacks.
Politicians of the bloc of right-wing parties, which are currently negotiating to form a coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu to replace the Lapid administration, also condemned the bombings.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the Jewish Power party, who is running for internal security minister, said that the attacks showed that Israel must “demand a price from the terrorists”.
“We must return sovereignty to the state of Israel, we must return to preventing terrorism,” he said. “Organized terrorism can and should be fought. We can and will fight against it.”