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Israeli forces arrest suspects in connection to Jerusalem explosion

April 21, 2016 8:00 P.M. (Updated: April 22, 2016 3:50 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces arrested a number of suspects Thursday evening said to be linked to a bus explosion in Jerusalem on Monday that left the suspect responsible for the attack dead and 20 others injured.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that 19-year-old Hamas operative Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour exploded the bomb on the bus, and that “a number” of other suspects linked to the incident have also been arrested.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that several Bethlehem-area members of Hamas were taken to be interrogated by Israel’s security service the Shin Bet.

Abu Srour succumbed to his wounds Wednesday after being severely injured in the explosion, with Hamas also claiming responsibility Wednesday and saying the teen carried out the attack.

Shortly after the announcement of his death, the Palestinian Ministry of Health identified Abu Srour as a resident of the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank.

The explosive device that detonated on an Israeli bus Monday evening in southern Jerusalem caused a fire that spread to a nearby empty bus and a private vehicle. The incident was eventually designated by Israeli police as a "terror attack."

Hamas -- alongside a number of other Palestinian factions -- immediately after Monday's explosion said it was a "natural reaction" to the ongoing Israeli military occupation.

In a separate incident Thursday afternoon, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem.

Head of the Jerusalem Prisoners and Detainees Families' Committee Amjad Abu Asab said Israeli forces detained Amir Walid al-Balbisi from his home in the al-Suwana neighborhood, Anas Abdeen from the Beit Hanina neighborhood, and Amro Arafah.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment on the detentions.

Israeli forces have intensified raids in East Jerusalem in the past several days since Monday’s attack. In predawn raids Thursday, Israeli forces injured 16 Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.

The blast was the first attack of its kind in years. Bus bombings were recurrent during the Second Intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2005.

However, the current wave of unrest which has spread across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel since October has been overwhelmingly marked by a surge of small-scale attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals -- predominantly on Israeli military targets.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since October and nearly 30 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks.

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