India Today analyses an array of tweets under #Operation_Jerusalem in the aftermath of twin blasts in Jerusalem on November 23.
Security and rescue forces work at the scene of an explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)
By Bidisha Saha, Aakash Sharma: In the early hours of Wednesday, two blasts went off at Givat Shaul and Ramot junction bus stops on the outskirts of Jerusalem in Israel, killing a 16-year-old boy and injuring 22 people. Police are investigating the twin explosion and say it was a “suspected Palestine attack,” as per Reuters.
The first blast took place at 7am local time on Wednesday morning near a central bus stop at Givat Shaul, targeting rush-hour commuters. The second one took place at an interval of about half an hour near a busy junction in Ramot settlement, north of Jerusalem.
Some parts of the motorway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were shut temporarily as Israeli police searched for other explosives that may have been planted in the city. The initial findings suggest that shrapnel-laden explosive devices were planted for maximum damage. The bags were hidden in a bush and behind a wall respectively at the two explosion sites and were detonated remotely by a mobile phone.
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— ×ž×©×˜×¨×ª ×™×©×¨××œ (@IL_police) November 23, 2022
Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed his condolences to the family of the bereaved, while also stating that “This event is different from what we have seen in recent years.”
CELEBRATORY POSTS ON #OPERATION_JERUSALEM
Looking at the hashtag analysis of the now viral #Operation_Jerusalem that blared Twitter moments after the blast, shows that Twitter users from mainly Palestine and Saudi Arabia were sharing celebratory posts on the Twin attacks.
The analysis by India Today is based on a sample of 2777 tweets that emerged from November 20 (two days before the blast) to November 24. The hashtag campaign shows some coordination with the strength of 8294 posts including tweets, retweets, and replies, and consisted of 2533 active users.
The overall analysis shows that 50.9% (½ of the Tweets) of posts originated from Saudi Arabia and about 15.1% from Palestine.
Links on the network show how specific stories circulate from one Twitter account to another through retweets, quotes, replies, and mentions. Gray link lines are posts from low-credibility sources. Nodes or bubbles in the network are Twitter accounts. The larger ones have been retweeted more times, while the red ones are likely from bot accounts.
Starting from the first tweet at 7:20 AM on the morning of the explosion, there were around 7k tweets and retweets from the Middle East region indicating coordination in the network.
We have picked out some of the most viral posts underneath the #Operation_Quds and #Operation_Jerusalem. They demonstrate that the users are celebrating while praising the deadly attack outside the bus stop. Some of the users are also speculating that Hamas was behind the attack.
— Ø£Ø³Ø¯ Ø§Ù„Ù‚Ø¯Ø³ (@AlqdsAsd) November 23, 2022
Some Twitter users have also circulated graphics that hark back to the second intifada, also known as Al-Aqsa Intifada referring to the Palestinian uprising in 2000-05.
ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
Since the beginning of this year, there has been an upsurge in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed near West Bank and East Jerusalem in nightly raids and at least 29 Israelis have been killed in stabbings and shootings. The Israeli army claims most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But stone-throwing youths who were protesting Israeli army incursions and other protestors not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
However, bombing incidents have been rare since the 2005 intifada or uprising characterized by frequent attacks on Israeli buses, public spaces, and suicide bombings nearly two decades ago. Wednesday’s twin blasts uptick an escalation and is being called the deadliest year since 2006.
The Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and once carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, praised the perpetrators of the attacks, calling it a “heroic operation”, but did not claim any responsibility for the incident. In their statement, they shifted the blame to “Israeli occupation” stating that it attempts “to incite against the Hamas movement and disturb its ties with the countries in the region by assigning the responsibility for Jerusalem’s attacks to it is nothing but an attempt to cover up its failure to stop the Palestinian freedom struggle”
Hamas has published a statement supporting the bombings in Jerusalem, but did not claim responsibility for the attacks in Jerusalem. The statement ends with a pledge to continue “resistance” against Israel. pic.twitter.com/ticneC0IJG
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) November 23, 2022
Hamas spokesperson Abdul Latif al-Qanoua said that the colonial Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinian citizens of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, the desecration of the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, and the attempts to Judaise the city will be resisted with all possible means. “The occupation is reaping the price of its crimes and aggression against our people,” he added.