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World News

Jerusalem attacks condemned by World Council of Churches

by Donna Birrell

The World Council of Churches has condemned twin explosions in Jerusalem, saying it only further damages the prospects of peace and justice for all.

Two bombs exploded at bus stops on Jerusalem's outskirts yesterday, killing a 16-year-old boy and wounding at least 14 people in what appeared to be an attack by Palestinian militants, according to Israeli authorities. 

Police blamed the initial blast, during the morning rush hour, on an improvised bomb planted near the city exit. 

The second - some 30 minutes later - hit a junction leading to an outlying settlement at Ramot.

A search is underway for suspects.

WCC's acting general secretary Rev Prof Dr Ioan Sauca condemned the attacks: "There is a particular horror in any such attack which takes place at public locations where young people are going to school, others are going to work, and innocent lives are lost to extremist violence. The WCC condemns this violence unequivocally, as we do all violence between the peoples and communities of this region which has seen so much bloodshed.

"It is important that all responsible authorities - including civil, religious and law enforcement - take proactive steps to prevent any reprisals by extremist groups.

"The tensions and tragedies of this city-holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims-are a reminder both of the need for all parties to continue to work intensively for a just peace in Israel and Palestine, and of the vital place that Jerusalem itself plays in that longed-for peace."

Sauca extended condolences on behalf of the WCC global fellowship, urging: "Let us pray for the victims, their families, and close ones as well as the people of the Holy Land."

The 16-year-old victim was an Orthodox Jew who had dual Israeli and Canadian nationality and studied at a religious school in the Holy City. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of a young Canadian man in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, and I send my sincere condolences to his family and friends. My thoughts are also with those injured. Canada condemns this violence in the strongest terms."


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