Israeli authorities have confirmed that a bomb was responsible for a blast in southeast Jerusalem that injured 21 people on Monday, Haaretz reported. The explosion tore through a bus in the city’s Talpiot neighborhood at about 5:45 PM, engulfing it and a nearby bus and car in flames.
“Based on a professional investigation by police demolitions experts it appears that a bomb went off in the back of the bus which caused injuries to passengers, and the bus to catch fire,” said a Jerusalem Police spokesperson. “In addition another bus and a private vehicle nearby were also damaged.”
Two of the 21 victims evacuated by paramedics are reported to be in serious condition, while seven are moderately wounded and the remaining are lightly injured. Israel is investigating whether one of those injured may have been the bomber.
Despite initial reports that the explosion may have been caused by a technical malfunction on one of the buses, a spokesperson for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat later confirmed that the blast was the result of a “small” bomb. Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, said the explosion was a terror attack.
Update to explosion on bus in Jerusalem. Police bomb disposal experts confirm explosive devise went off on bus that caused 21 injuries.
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) April 18, 2016
Aftermath at site of Jerusalem bus bombing caused by IED. Police label terror attack, 2 injured among suspects. pic.twitter.com/6hij80Hq4l
— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) April 18, 2016
It is currently unclear who was responsible for the bombing, which was praised by both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The attack comes amid charges that Palestinian groups, including the outlawed Northern Branch of Islamic Movement of Israel, are fueling tensions ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins later this week.
The ongoing Palestinian wave of terror that began around the Jewish holidays last fall has left 34 people dead and over 360 injured, and has been attributed by Israeli authorities to a campaign of incitement, including false charges that the al-Aqsa Mosque is under attack.
A news report on the bombing is embedded below.
[Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90 ]