Photo: Courtesy of the AP
The bus attack in Jerusalem today has raised concerns the militant presence is growing stronger and more capable in the West Bank as well as in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip, Stratfor reports.The West Bank’s Fatah leadership condemned Wednesday’s attack. Two militant groups in Gaza – Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees – welcomed the violence but no one has yet claimed responsibility, according to the NYT.
Some have pointed to more shadowy militant groups with ties to Syria and Iran, such as the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades-Imad Mughniyah and the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad). Stratfor notes that before the bombing this morning a PIJ spokesman said the group plans to target cities in Israel as part of a “new phase of resistance.”
There has been talk that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to launch his own peace program, the BBC reports. He was rumoured to have planned to cross paths with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow this week.
Netanyahu reportedly delayed the trip after today’s bus bombing. And given the heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions, any plan to restart the peace process has likely been shelved indefinitely.
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