Israel Arrests Hamas Suspects Linked to Jerusalem Bombing

Shin Bet identifies Palestinian behind attack that left 20 wounded as Abu al-Hamid Abu Srour, 19.

The scene of a bombing in Jerusalem, April 18, 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

Israeli security forces arrested in recent days a number of men said to be affiliated with Hamas, in connection to a bus bombing in Jerusalem that wounded 20 on Monday.

The Shin Bet said in a statement on Thursday that several Hamas activists from the Bethlehem area were arrested by the security service, the army and the police since the attack. They are suspected of being involved in the planning and the carrying out of the attack.

The suspects were taken to be interrogated by Shin Bet.

A poster of the bomber, Abu al-Hamid Abu Srour, published by Hamas, Bethlehem, West Bank, April 19, 2016.

Also on Thursday, the name of the suspect behind the bombing was released for publication. The Shin Bet said that his name was Abu al-Hamid Mohammed Ahmed Abu Srour.

Abu Srour, a 19-year-old Palestinian man from Beit Jala, a town near Bethlehem, died Wednesday of his wounds sustained in the bombing. The Shin Bet confirmed that the attack was a suicide bombing.

On Wednesday, Hamas in the West Bank claimed responsibility for the attack.

Four of those wounded in the attack are still being treated at the Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Three of them are in the hospital's intensive care unit in fair to serious condition. The three are mechanically ventilated and sedated. Another victim of the attack is conscious and in fair condition and is being treated at the hospital's plastic surgery ward.

This is the first suicide attack in Israel in five years. The last one was a combined attack on Route 12 in the south, in August 2011, in which one of the terrorists had an explosive belt that he blew up near a bus empty of passengers. The driver, Yitzhak Sela, was killed, along with five other civilians and a member of the police special forces and an IDF combat soldier.

During the second intifada, the greatest number of suicide attacks took place in 2002 - according to Shin Bet figures there were 53 such attacks with 189 casualties.