One of the two US citizens who were injured after a pair of deadly explosions rocked Jerusalem Wednesday has been identified as the teen daughter of a prominent New Jersey rabbi.
One of the blasts that police said were carried out by Palestinian militants killed 16-year-old Israeli-Canadian yeshiva student Aryeh Shechopek, who was on his way to school at the time of his death.
The explosions happened 30 minutes apart at two bus stations during the busy morning rush hour. The attacks injured at least 18 people, and some reports have put the number of victims at as high as 26.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed in a tweet that the daughter of Rabbi Uri Pilichowski, 18-year-old Naomi Pilichowski, was among the injured as he condmened the bombings.
“I pray for the victims and stand firmly with our friends in Israel against terrorism,” the Democrat wrote.
Rabbi Pilichowski, a well-known educator and columnist for The Jerusalem Post, detailed what happened to his daughter in a lengthy Twitter thread Wednesday.
According to the New Jersey native, who currently lives in Israel with his wife and children, his daughter Naolmi was at a bus stop on her way to work when a bomb packed with nails and shrapnel was detonated nearby.
“One of the pieces flew at Naomi, hitting her, but not seriously. She felt ringing in her ears but wasn’t hurt,” the rabbi wrote.
The recent high school grad texted her family on WhatsApp that there had been a bombing and that “she was fine,” before adding that she was in an ambulance on the way to a hospital.
After six hours, Naomi was released and the family gathered for a dinner in Jerusalem to celebrate her lucky escape.
Rabbi Pilichowski wrote at length of his “indescribable” terror of could have happened to his daughter.
“Today could’ve been much worse,” he said. “A nail flying an inch or two higher or lower and I’d have been sitting shiva (mourning vigil) tonight instead of offering thanks at a celebratory dinner.”
Turning to the terrorists who planned and carried out the deadly attacks, the rabbi stated: “I might sound harsh, I don’t care. I want them dead. Not tried, not jailed. Executed. ASAP.”
The first explosion went off at 7:06 a.m. local time on the outskirts of Jerusalem, followed 30 minutes later by a second blast in the settlement of Ramot.
“It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here,” Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic, told Israeli Army Radio of the first blast. “I saw people with wounds bleeding all over the place.”
An initial investigation by police revealed that the bombs were shrapnel devices that detonated remotely. Both attacks are being characterized as acts of Palestinian terrorism.
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed that authorities would find the attackers.
“They can run, they can hide — it won’t help them,” he said in a statement. “We will punish them to the fullest extent of the law.”