Hamas claims responsibility for Jerusalem bus bombing

The Hamas statement was made even as Israeli authorities have yet to confirm that the explosion was indeed a terrorist attack.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
April 20, 2016 22:15
3 minute read.
A masked Palestinian boy wearing the headband of Hamas's armed wing

A masked Palestinian boy wearing the headband of Hamas's armed wing takes part in a rally marking the 28th anniversary of Hamas' founding in Gaza City. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has claimed credit for Monday's bus bombing in Jerusalem, the group said on Wednesday.

Hamas released a statement announcing the death of the Bethlehem native who is suspected of detonating the explosive on the bus in southern Jerusalem.

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The Islamist group said that Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, 19, a resident of the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem, was one of its members. His father was arrested by the IDF on Wednesday.

The Hamas statement was made even as Israeli authorities have yet to confirm that the explosion was indeed a terrorist attack.

Despite numerous reports circulating that Abu Srour was the terrorist responsible for the attack, the Shin Bet and Police have not confirmed those rumors amid a strict gag order as of this writing.

Police continue to investigate who is responsible for the blast that wounded 20 other men, women and children.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center spokeswoman Shoham Ruvio said the man, who lost both legs in the explosion, died at approximately 7 p.m. following multiple surgeries, but that police and hospital staff have yet to ascertain his identity.

“We don’t know anything about him – his name, his age, anything,” said Ruvio on Wednesday night, adding that a 13-year-old girl and 34-year-old woman remain at the hospital in light-to-moderate condition.

Meanwhile, following a protracted investigation into terrorist activity in the flash point east Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya, Border Police arrested 31 suspects during an early morning raid Wednesday that turned into a full-scale riot.

“Counterterrorism intelligence gathered over the last several weeks in connection with those suspects showed they possessed illegal weapons, participated in rioting, and numerous other serious disturbances,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

After identifying the dozens of suspects involved, heavily- armed officers entered the neighborhood on Mount Scopus at approximately 4 a.m. to carry out the arrests, he said.

However, shortly after arriving, a large group of masked Palestinians began throwing rocks at police, as well as a pipe bomb that exploded near the officers, although none were wounded.

Rosenfeld said it took the officers nearly two hours to disperse the rioters using stun grenades and other non-lethal means, and then carry out the arrests. No injuries were reported during the extended clash, he said.

Additionally, 18 other suspects living in the neighborhood were given court orders to appear for security offenses, he said.

Following the arrests, Amnesty International Israel released a statement claiming that police are utilizing heavy-handed collective punishment tactics in Isawiya, and arresting children as young as 10.

“Amnesty International Israel has expressed serious concerns about the Israeli police raid in the east Jerusalem village [sic] of Isawiya today,” the statement said.

“Evidence and reports that came to us raises concerns that police operations in the village [sic] are mainly intended for children and youth, designed to collectively deter residents by conducting arbitrary arrests in violation of international law.”

The left-wing human rights group also accused the police of damaging the property of several residents of the neighborhood.

“We urgently call for the release of detained minors and an independent investigation into the allegations of violations of the rights of residents there,” the statement continued.

Rosenfeld dismissed Amnesty International’s allegations, saying the raid was carefully planned and orchestrated, adding that no property was damaged.

“The police operations were planned ahead of time based on concrete intelligence on the suspects who were involved in terrorism and riots,” he said.

“There was no damage whatsoever caused to property, and police units left the area immediately after the suspects were arrested.”

Since the wave of attacks engulfed the capital last October, the vast majority of attacks against Jews and security personnel have been carried out by minors, some as young as 11.

During this time, Palestinians have carried out 211 stabbings, 83 shootings, and 42 vehicular attacks, killing 34 Jews, according to information on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

Approximately 200 Palestinians have been killed by security forces over the same period, 130 of whom were said by Israel to have been conducting an attack at the time of their death.

The remaining 70 people died in clashes with Israeli security forces.


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