Police confirm bomb was on bus that went up in flames in Talpiot neighborhood, but unclear who was behind explosion; Hamas praises blast but does not take responsibility
(SOURCE) A bomb exploded on a bus in Jerusalem Monday afternoon, injuring over 20 people as it and other vehicles were engulfed in flames, and ratcheting up tensions in a city just recovering from a months-long wave of violence.
Police and rescue officials confirmed 21 people were injured, two of them seriously, when the number 12 city bus exploded on Moshe Baram Street in the Talpiot neighborhood of the capital at about 5:45 p.m., setting the bus on fire.
A second intercity bus nearby and a car were also burned in the blast.
Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy said Monday evening the blast was caused by an explosive device placed on the bus, putting an end to two hours of speculation over whether the blast was terror related or a technical malfunction.
“When a bomb explodes on a bus, it is a terror attack,” Halevy said, adding it was unclear if the bomber had been on the bus at the time of the blast.
Police were investigating whether one of the people seriously injured in the explosion was in fact the terrorist responsible. However, the identity of the burned victim has not yet been confirmed, a spokesperson said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the blast was caused by a small explosive device that had been placed in the back of the bus. He urged people to remain calm and allow the police to complete their investigation.
The terror attack broke weeks of relative calm in the city after a six-month wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks seemed to be subsiding, and raised fears of a return to a type of violence not seen in Jerusalem for years. The second intifada terror wave between 2000 and 2005 saw Jerusalem frequently targeted by suicide bombers on buses and in restaurants.