A sanitation worker from the Jerusalem Municipality lost his hand on Sunday when a garbage bag he was lifting exploded, in what police believe was the first terrorist attack in the capital in more than a year.

The garbage bag was on a traffic island in the middle of Derech Hebron, next to the Mar Elias Monastery, in south Jerusalem, almost in the Gilo neighborhood. Another sanitation worker who was working alongside the first victim was lightly injured by the explosion. Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated both men to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

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Police said the explosion was caused by a small pipe bomb that was placed in the garbage bag. Initial investigations determined the attack was nationally, rather than criminally, motivated, based on the type of bombs, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Rosenfeld added.

“We are looking to find who exactly planted the bomb and why at that specific location,” he said.

Sappers were on the scene to search for additional explosives.

Traffic was rerouted from Derech Hebron, a major thoroughfare to Jerusalem from Gush Etzion, for two hours during Sunday morning’s rush hour.

This is the second time tragedy has struck the Jerusalem Municipality sanitation department in less than a week. Last Tuesday, Salodi Nidal, 38 and a father of four, died when a garbage container that was being lifted fell on him, killing him instantly.

In the wake of the accident, the municipality vowed to review safety precautions with all of the city’s maintenance workers involved in sanitation, logistics and pest control.

The city has also started an investigation into the accident.

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