JERUSALEM — The Islamist militant movement Hamas claimed Wednesday that one of its affiliates was responsible for detonating a bomb that exploded on an Israeli public bus earlier this week and injured more than 20 people in Jerusalem.
Hamas said 19-year-old Abdel Hamid Abu Srour carried out the bombing, which has raised fears that a new round of violence could include suicide attacks and bus bombings — hallmarks of the violent Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in the early 2000s.
A Hamas poster praised Abu Srour’s death and declared him a martyr for jihad. Hamas media reported the announcement, and pro-Hamas media sites identified Abu Srour as a member of the Hamas armed military brigades. But top Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip did not issue a statement, leading to questions about whether Hamas sponsored the attack or was just claiming Abu Srour as an operative.
Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and has fought three wars with Israel, which alongside the United States, considers the resistance group a terror organization.
Abu Srour was initially believed to be one of the victims of the bombing, but suspicions were raised when hospital workers did not find identification and no relatives came forward. Israel media reported that his father was arrested by the military on Wednesday.
A spokesman at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem said the 19-year-old lost both legs in the explosion and succumbed to his wounds on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian news agency Maan.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced his death and said that Abu Srour was from the Aida refugee camp on the edge of Bethlehem.
Israeli authorities have issued a gag order on the case and did not confirm links between Abu Srour and Hamas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday condemned the bus bombing during a visit to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“We are against all forms of terrorist activity that affect Israeli and Palestinian civilians,” Abbas said, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Immediately after the bus bombing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to find the culprit and those who sent him.
Hazem Balousha in Gaza City contributed to this report.