This afternoon a bus exploded on the streets of Jerusalem, injuring 21 people, including apparently the bomber himself. Unusually for Israel there was initially a great deal of confusion and conflicting reports about the incident, with the authorities refusing to call it a terrorist incident until they had completed their investigation.
Unless there was an extremely faulty engine on one of the buses, there is no way this could have been anything other than a bomb, which causes us to question the motives of the authorities. Are they trying to downplay this egregious act of terror similar to how they hardly react to the daily acts of stoning and rock throwing at the Jerusalem Light Rail as it enters the Arab neighbourhood of Shuafat? Or the intimidation and stoning of Jewish visitors to the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives?
As to the event itself, here is the Times of Israel’s report:
At least 21 people were injured in a bus bombing in Jerusalem Monday afternoon, police said. Two of them were badly injured, one of them critically.
The number 12 bus exploded as it was passing near the Talpiot neighborhood in the southern end of the capital carrying a number of passengers at around 5:45 p.m., police said. The blast set a car and a second empty bus on fire, injuring several more people.
Jerusalem police chief Yarom Halevy told media the blast was caused by an explosive device placed on the bus, but it was unclear how the bomb got there and if the attack was an attempted suicide bombing.
“When a bomb explodes on a bus it is a terror attack,” he said.
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.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking Monday night, said Israel would “settle the score” with those responsible for the bombing.
However, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast by any terrorist groups or individuals.
The Hamas terrorist organization did not take credit for the attack, but praised it in a statement Monday evening.
“Hamas blesses the Jerusalem operation, and considers it a natural reaction to Israeli crimes, especially field executions and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the terror group said.
… [Jerusalem police spokesperson Assi] Aharoni said the police had not found ball bearings and other chunks of metal often used in the past by terrorists carrying out bus bombings, but stressed that this was not a definitive factor in establishing what had happened.
Avi Rivkind, a trauma surgeon at Hadassah Hospital, by contrast, told Army Radio the injuries were consistent with previous terror attacks, including the use of metal pieces in an apparent bomb.
The confusion about the origin of the bomb was because two buses were involved. The police appear to have solved the mystery now:
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says sappers find that a bomb exploded at the rear of the Jerusalem bus hit by a blast, injuring passengers and causing a massive blaze that spread to another bus and private vehicles.
As to Hamas’ praise of the bombing, this was obviously to be expected. But is it an ominous portent of worse to come, as they threatened back in February? That was when Hamas issued a propaganda music video singing of “when the bus roofs fly:
“The intifada is not an intifada if the bus roof doesn’t fly off.”
Let’s hope the Prime Minister’s threat to “settle the score” with the terrorists is not just more empty talk and bluff like his bluster on the Temple Mount.
For the moment let us thank G-d that the blast wasn’t worse, and it “only” caused injuries. I would like to wish refuah shlema, a complete and speedy recovery to all the injured, and may the terrorist rot in hell, slowly.