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Update – 24 March 2011

Posted by Rebecca Searle on 24 March 2011 at 12:30pm:

Dear All, 

We awoke this morning to the terrible news of another attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon. An elderly woman was killed and more than 30 injured in the explosion near the Central Bus Station. It has been reported that the 2-4 pound bomb exploded either at or next to the bus stop, or on Bus 74 itself, which runs through Jerusalem. (See more here).

This attack follows the recent murder of a sleeping family, including three children, on Shabbat 12 March, (see here for more). Additionally, Qasam rockets continue to rain down on the Western Negev, and on Wednesday two Katyusha rockets were fired from Gaza into Be’er Sheva.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who delayed his trip to Moscow by several hours as a result of the attack, spoke of the “elements that have tried to violate this quiet” that the Israeli government works towards. He stated that the government, together with the army “will act vigorously, responsibly and prudently in order to maintain the quiet and the security that have prevailed here over the past two years.” (See here).

The Israeli Police and MDA, Israel’s ambulance service, have raised alerts as well as their own presence following these acts of violence. Subsequent to an evaluation meeting, the police concluded to “place police on the highest state of alert and to send reinforcements from other districts to the Jerusalem district and the rocket-stricken southern district.” (More here).

President Obama condemned the attack in Jerusalem, asserting that “Israel, like all other nations, has a right to self-defense” and “in the strongest possible terms.” “There is never any possible justification for terrorism,” Obama said. “We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian casualties.”

However, as the Jerusalem Post reports, Hamas representatives from Gaza have claimed that the attack was a “natural response to Israeli crimes against Palestinians.” (See here). Abu Ahmed, Islamic Jihad spokesman described the attack as a “clear and powerful message to Israel that her crimes won’t be able to break the resistance.” Additionally and almost predictably, the international media seems intent on blaming the victims of yesterdays attack for the bombing. In an atrocious effort to justify the bombing as a proportionate reaction, Le Monde linked it to Jewish settlements, and the Associated Press posted photos of “Palestinian victims of an Israeli airstrike” beneath headlines of the bombing. (See Omri Ceren’s article for more information.)

President Shimon Peres expressed his condolences to the family of the woman who was murdered in the attack, and wished those injured in Be’er Sheva a speedy recovery. He also congratulated citizens on their “resilience” and ability to “demonstrate determination and courage.” Moreover, he expressed “confidence in the strength of the IDF and the Security Forces to cut the hand of terror that tries to harm our citizens and to put and end to this criminal activity.” For more information, visit the article from the Jerusalem Post here. Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat encouraged a hasty return to normal life, thus allowing the terrorists to have minimal effect on the life of the city and its residents.