Hamas Claims Responsibility for Jerusalem Bus Bombing

Attacker identified as 19-year-old from refugee camp near Bethlehem, who dies of wounds in Israeli hospital; unlike after previous attacks claimed by the group, statement was released only by Hamas in the West Bank, and not by the group's spokespeople in Gaza or abroad.

Israeli forensics search in the remains of a burnt-out a bus after a bomb blast ripped through the vehicle in Jerusalem on April 18, 2016.
AFP, Thomas Coex

Hamas in the West Bank claimed responsibility Wednesday for the bus bombing in Jerusalem on Monday that left 20 wounded. The acknowledgment came after health officials in Gaza published a statement saying the Palestinian man who died Wednesday of wounds sustained in the bombing was a member of the group and was responsible for the attack.

Hamas identified the man as a 19-year-old from the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem. His name is barred from publication.

Unlike other terror attacks, neither Hamas in Gaza nor its spokespeople abroad published an official acknowledgment of responsibility for the attack. Immediately after the attack, the organization published a statement praising the attack, but not claiming it.

Jewish men look at the site of an explosion on bus in Jerusalem on April 18, 2016.
AFP, Ahmad Gharabli

The Jerusalem District Court imposed Tuesday a gag order on details of the investigation into the attack, which wounded 20 people, including the suspect.

Three people are still hospitalized with moderate to severe wounds in intensive care at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, Jerusalem. Three of the wounded were released from Sha’arei Zedek on Tuesday, where the Palestinian was also hospitalized. The man, whose identity was still under gag-order, was said to be suffering from severe wounds to his lower extremities.

Police investigators believe that the explosion was caused by a small bomb placed at the back of the bus. The bomb caused a huge fire that burned the entire bus and spread to an empty bus nearby, as well as a passing car.

The passengers were able to flee the bus, but most of them suffered burns.

The Jerusalem police have completed preparations for Passover and Orthodox Easter, with a beefed-up presence at locations where ceremonies will be held.