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Scottish Missionary among Victims of Jerusalem Bombing

A woman who was killed when a bomb exploded in Jerusalem on Wednesday was a Scottish missionary.

Mary Jean Gardner, 59, of Orkney, was a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators and was in Jerusalem studying Hebrew at The Home for Bible Translators.

She had previously served as part of a Wycliffe team in Togo that translated the New Testament into the Ife language.

Gardner had been studying Hebrew in Jerusalem with a view of returning to Togo to translate the Old Testament.

Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, Eddie Arthur, described Gardner as an "extremely popular and competent colleague."

"She was a lovely lady who was very popular," he said.

Gardner died when a device went off at a bus stop near the central bus station in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, on Wednesday. The attack, which injured around 30 people, is believed to have been carried out by Palestinian militants.

In a statement Thursday, Gardner's parents, Jean, 81, and Tony, 82, of Aberdeenshire, said they were "devastated by the sudden loss of their daughter in this tragic and unexpected way."

"Mary was a very special person and we thought the world of her. She was devoted to her work and was well liked wherever she went. Her loss in this way has been deeply upsetting for us all," said Tony Gardner. "We are proud of her and all that she has achieved in her life and feel truly blessed to have had her in our lives."

The attack has been condemned "in the strongest terms" by Foreign Secretary William Hague, who called it a "shocking and despicable act of terrorism." It was the first bombing in Jerusalem in about seven years.

Amnesty International has also condemned the bombing, saying it "clearly targeted Israeli civilians."

The bombing came after an increase in violence in the contentious region. Rocket and mortar bombs were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, a coastal Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas Islamists, in the past week, which were then followed by numerous Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

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