Jerusalem (TPS) – The Hamas operative who detonated a bomb on a Jerusalem bus this week has died in an Israeli hospital, the Israeli police confirmed on Thursday, partially lifting a gag order on the investigation. A police spokesperson further revealed that several other suspects have been arrested.
Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, a 19-year-old Hamas operative from the town of Beit Jala near Bethlehem, detonated an explosive device on the number 12 public bus in Jerusalem on Monday, injuring 20 people, including one seriously. Abu Srour died of his wounds on Wednesday in Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. The Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) characterized the bombing as a “suicide attack.”
The police, Shin Bet, and IDF conducted extensive raids in Bethlehem on Tuesday, arresting multiple Hamas activists who are suspected of helping Abu Srour plan and carry out the terror attack.
Further details of the investigation remain under a gag order.
Following Abu Srour’s death on Wednesday evening, the Hamas terror organization claimed responsibility for the attack and called him a “martyr.” Spontaneous celebrations erupted in Bethlehem and Gaza, with people passing out candy in the streets to celebrate the bus bombing.
Four victims of the terror attack are being treated at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center. Three are in the intensive care unit on respirators, said Hadassah spokeswoman Hadar Elboim on Thursday.
“We will locate the men who created this bomb, we will reach the men who sent the bomber as well as the ones behind them,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after Monday’s terror attack. “We will settle the account with these terrorists.”
Vice President Joe Biden attacked time and again the Netanyahu government which he said causes the White House “overwhelming frustration,” in a speech at the leftwing J Street organization’s annual gala dinner on Monday. “The present course Israel’s on is not one that’s likely to secure its existence as a Jewish, democratic state— and we have to make sure that happens,” Biden said.
Biden recalled his recent meetings with both Netanyahu and PA Chairman Abbas, concluding that “there is at the moment no political will that I observed among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward with serious negotiations. The trust that is necessary to take risks for peace is fractured on both sides.”
According to Politico, the tone and direction of that Biden reference and his overall speech “seemed to rule out the chances of a final year peace push from the Obama administration.” Perhaps.
Biden acknowledged the attack on a Jerusalem bus by Arab terrorists that took place on the same day he was sharing his frustrations regarding the Netanyahu government’s lack of willingness to pursue the two-state solution. Biden condemned the bombing, saying it had been done by “misguided cowards.” He offered prayers to the injured and their families. Which is probably more realistic at this point than anything else the administration could do to promote its goals in the region. That should be frustrating indeed.
Biden began his speech with praise for another guest of honor, young, first-term MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Camp – Labor), who reminded him, he said, of the time he had run for the Senate at the age of 29. “May your views once again begin to have a majority opinion in the Knesset,” Biden said.
Not likely. In fact, if Labor ever wants to be a contender in Israeli coalition politics, it’ll have to move to the center—as the majority of its members have been advocating—which could mean the dropping of needless indulgences like Shaffir.
Towards the end, Biden said, “We are Israel’s maybe not-only friend, but only absolutely certain friend.” That statement will be tested in November, after the elections, when the US Administration will have to decide whether or not to veto a UN Security Council resolution unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state.
21 people were injured on Monday afternoon in a terrorist bomb explosion on a bus on Moshe Bar’am Street near Hebron Road in Jerusalem, security sources reported. Two of the victims, a man, 30, and a woman, 28, were critically injured, six moderately and the rest sustained light injuries, including two children ages 10 and 12.
As a result of the initial explosion of an empty bus, another bus, which carried passengers, and a private car caught fire. Eight victims were evacuated to Sha’are Tsedek hospital and the rest to Hadassah Ein Kerem. According to MDA, the victims suffered burns, smoke inhalation and cuts.
Large police forces arrived at the scene with sappers who scanned the area for additional explosives, as well as four firefighting crews that put out the fires.
Jerusalem District Police Commander Major General Yoram Halevy told the press, “At this stage of the investigation we are trying to find out who placed the explosive load, and how they reached the bus. We are in full deployment of the district forces and prepared for every scenario.”
Halevy admitted that there were no intelligence alerts regarding the planted explosives and it isn’t clear whether the perpetrator was a suicide bomber. A seriously wounded Arab from eastern Jerusalem was found on the bus without any ID, adding to suspicions that this was a terror attack.
Udi Gal, spokesman for the Jerusalem Fire Dept. told the press that “enormous flames that erupted in one bus reached the other. Both buses were ignited completely and a nearby vehicle was burnt as well. Luckily, no one was trapped inside.”
Gal, who spoke before police announced the attack had been the act of a terrorist, said there were an average of 200 cases of spontaneous combustion of buses a year in Israel.
As of 6:15 PM Jerusalem time (11:15 AM NY) the fires were put out.
The Jewish Press will update the story as new details come in.