Jersualem mayor: Life must go on after bomb

Mayor Nir Barkat

Mayor Nir Barkat

The mayor of Jerusalem has called on those living in the city to return to normal life “as quickly as possible” rather than give in to terrorists and live in fear.

Nir Barkat wished a speedy recovery to the 30 people who were injured in the blast near to Jerusalem’s central bus station on Wednesday afternoon, but vowed that life in the city, including Friday’s marathon, would not be disrupted.

The attack, the first bomb blast in the city in seven years and the first bomb to explode in Israel since February 2008, left a 59-year-old woman dead. Several others are in critical condition in hospital.

Mr Barkat said: “When terror attempts to disrupt our way of life, the best solution is to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

“Events in Jerusalem will not be cancelled and Jerusalem will not stop running.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres said: "I have 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 an end to this criminal activity. I am proud of the resilience of our citizens who demonstrate determination and courage. I also send speedy recovery wishes to the injured in Beer Sheva [in the rocket attacks]."

President Barack Obama also offered his condolences to those affected and called for attacks, including the barrage of rockets fired into southern Israel this week, to be halted.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad also condemned the attack. Mr Fayyad said: "This is a shameful act. Such acts harm our just struggle and wholly contradict the legitimate demand for independence in peaceful ways.”

In Britain, the Board of Deputies expressed hope that those responsible would soon be brought to justice.

A statement from the Board said: “We watch with horror as yet again innocent Israelis, simply going about their daily lives, are targeted by those bent on murder and destruction.

"We hope that this tragedy serves as a reminder to all parties of the urgent need to find a peaceful solution to the current conflict. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the attack.”

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary said: "This is shocking and deeply distressing.

"I send my sincere condolences to all those who have been affected and my sympathy to the people of Israel as they come to terms with this news."

He added: "This appears to have been a callous and disgusting act of terrorism directed against innocent civilians which I condemn unreservedly. I would like to express the UK’s unwavering support for the people of Israel in the face of such horrific acts.”

Hasan Afzal, a spokesperson for the group British Muslims for Israel, said:"Such acts of indiscriminate violence are never justified, hurt the cause of Palestinians and harden public opinion in Israel.

“These attacks hurt all sides, and help no one."

Mr Afzal added: "We urge all British Muslims to condemn these senseless attacks which block any attempts for peace and ruin the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians".

Members of terrorist groups Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad praised the bombing.

Last updated: 6:53pm, March 23 2011