TEL AVIV – While not officially claiming responsibility for Monday’s bus bombing in Jerusalem, Hamas announced in a statement that a Bethlehem native suspected of detonating the explosive device came from the Islamist group. This while Israeli security officials have yet to release information conforming that the explosion was a terrorist attack.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Hamas released a statement announcing the death of the Bethlehem native who is suspected of detonating the explosive on the bus in southern Jerusalem.
The Islamist group said that Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, 19, a resident of the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem, was one of its members. His father was arrested by the IDF on Wednesday.
The Hamas statement was made even as Israeli authorities have yet to confirm that the explosion was indeed a terrorist attack.
Despite numerous reports circulating that Abu Srour was the terrorist responsible for the attack, the Shin Bet and Police have not confirmed those rumors amid a strict gag order as of this writing.
At least 21 people were injured, two of them seriously, in an explosion on a bus in Jerusalem on Monday that police here say was caused by an explosive device.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeled the event a terrorist incident immediately following the attack: “This afternoon in Jerusalem two buses exploded in a terrorist incident. I send wishes for a speedy recovery to all those who were wounded. We will reach the perpetrators and those who support them, and ensure those who stand behind it are held accountable.”
According to reports, most of the injuries occurred after a second bus and a nearby vehicle caught fire.
Bus bombings were a staple of the Second Palestinian Intifada that began in 2000, when the Palestinians rejected U.S.-brokered peace talks. However, bus bombings in Israel have been rare in recent years.
Monday’s attack could mark a major escalation in the so-called Palestinian wave of terror, which until how has focused largely on stabbings as well as shootings and rock throwing.
The attack comes the same day the Israeli military announced that it uncovered a Hamas tunnel that snakes into Israeli territory, the first such tunnel to be discovered in Israel since the 2014 Israel-Gaza War.
UPDATE: On Thursday, Israeli police released a gag order on the case, revealing several arrests that seem to point to the bombing being perpetuated by a Hamas cell and not by a lone attacker.
The Jerusalem Police released a statement Thursday, saying, “Through intensive intelligence and field activity, the Shin Bet, the Israel Police, and the IDF arrested a number of suspects about a day after the attack on the Jerusalem bus – Hamas suspects from the Bethlehem area – who are suspected of being involved in planning the attack and executing it. Their questioning is in progress, and their identities are classified.”
The official statement also said that “it has been cleared for publication that the critically wounded man from the attack, who died at the Shaare Zedek hospital, is the terrorist who perpetrated the attack on the Egged line 12 bus.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.