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Bus Blast in Jerusalem Wounds 21, Israel Cites Terrorism

  • VOA News

Israeli police say a bomb blast ripped through a commuter bus Monday in an industrial area of Jerusalem, wounding 21 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from any Palestinian factions. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later linked the blast to terrorism. "We will settle accounts with those terrorists," he said Monday evening.

At United Nations headquarters in New York, the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors engaged in a rare shouting match, interrupting a monthly Security Council meeting designed to review Middle East diplomacy and tensions.

With the two envoys shouting at and over each other, Israeli Danny Danon accused the Palestinian government of paying the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists. He also accused Palestinian officials of promoting violence by labeling such attackers as martyrs and then naming streets after them.

“Shame on you for glorifying terrorism,” he scolded.

“Shame on you for killing thousands of Palestinian children!” Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour shouted back, as the Council president struggled to restore order. “Let my people be free!” Mansour demanded, calling the Israelis occupiers and colonizers.

Moments later, the Israeli ambassador interrupted the meeting again to announce the bus attack in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, pictures on social media showed a green Jerusalem bus engulfed in flames, shrouded in black smoke. A second bus parked nearby also was damaged.

The blast - the first such bus attack in nearly five years - follows a series of knife attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians and security officials that have rattled both Israel proper and the occupied West Bank since October 2015.

Israeli authorities say at least 200 Palestinians and 28 Israelis have been killed in that violence, which officials say has tapered off in recent weeks.