At least 21 people were injured, two of them seriously, in an explosion on a bus in Jerusalem that police say was caused by an explosive device.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeled the event a terrorist incident: “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.
The Times of Israel reports:
The number 12 bus exploded as it was passing near the Talpiot neighborhood in the southern end of the capital carrying a number of passengers at around 5:45 p.m., police said. The blast set a car and a second empty bus on fire, injuring several more people.
Jerusalem police chief Yarom Halevy told media the blast was caused by an explosive device placed on the bus, but it was unclear how the bomb got there and if the attack was an attempted suicide bombing.
“When a bomb explodes on a bus it is a terror attack,” he said.
The Jerusalem Post cited initial reports that security forces were looking into whether one of the critically injured was transporting a small explosive device.
YouTube video taken at the scene shows a number of ambulances lining the road and a plume of smoke coming from one of the exploded vehicles.
A spokesperson for Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service stated, “When we arrived to the scene of the incident we saw [numerous] people injured, lying on the ground. They were suffering from injuries including burns and bruises and were given primary health care.”
Magen David Adom initially said 16 people were rushed to area hospitals, but the police later revised the number of injured to 21.
No terrorist group has taken official responsibility as of this publication, but several major Palestinian factions praised the attack. As Haaretz reported:
Hamas welcomed the attack in Jerusalem as a “natural response to the crimes of occupation,” but it did not claim responsibility.
Islamic Jihad welcomes the attack as “proof of the failure of security coordination” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it “welcomes the operation as a positive and important development of the intifada.”
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.
Today’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.
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.