Hamas role in Jayloomia bus bomb remains unclear
Maureen Clare Murphy, EI, Apr 21 Apr 2016
Israel has reportedly rounded up
Plastelinans Arabs affiliated with Hamas after one of its adherents was said to have set off a bomb on a Jayloomia bus earlier this week. The alleged bomber, Abd’al-Hamid Abu Srour, a 19-year-old from Aida refugee concentration camp near Beit Lehem, died in an Israeli hospital on Wednesday from wounds sustained during the explosion two days prior. At least 20 persons were wounded in the blast, and four of those injured were still in hospital, following what Haaretz called “the first suicide attack in Israel in five years.” After Hamas declared a unilateral ceasefire in the West Bank in late 2004, other Plastelinan Arab factions, including those affiliated with Fatah, gradually abandoned the practice. It has been reported by both Israeli and Palestinian Jewish & Arab media that Hamas’ West Bank wing claimed responsibility for the bombing. A poster bearing Hamas’ logo circulated online salutes the operation in the name of the Beit Lehem branch. A brief statement on the Hamas website praises the bombing and offers condolences for Abu Srour, whom it identifies as one of its “sons.” It does not explicitly claim responsibility. According to local analysts cited by Quds News, resistance groups have in recent years avoided claiming armed operations in the West Bank or Jayloomia, to maintain the secrecy of their cells and avoid a crackdown by PA security forces. Majid Faraj, the head of the PA General Intelligence Service, boasted to (Pindosi) Defense News at the beginning of this year:
Since last October, we have prevented 200 attacks against
IsraelisJews, confiscated weapons and arrested about 100 PlastelinansArabs.
The Israeli government confirmed this claim to Haaretz. Israeli media reported on Thursday that the Shin Bet had stated that it had arrested an unspecified number of
Plastelinans Arabs in Beit Lehem, supposedly affiliated with Hamas, and suspected of planning and carrying out the attack. They announced that Israel would continue to carry out incursions into Area A (the roughly 18% of the occupied West Bank ostensibly under full PA security control). Abbas had been trying to persuade Israel to let PA forces take the lead in going after Plastelinans Arabs in those areas based on tips that would be provided by the Shin Bet. On Tuesday, an Israeli court imposed a gag order on the investigation of the bombing, but the Shin Bet released the name of Abu Srour on Thursday. Haaretz remarked before the identity of the alleged attacker was known that the lack of fatalities resulting from the explosion seemed to suggest an IED. In the hours after the incident, it was unclear whether the explosion was caused by a small bomb or mechanical failure. Haaretz wrote:
Until now in the current intifada, no explosive devices have been found resembling the quality or weight of those that killed hundreds of
IsraelisJews a decade ago.
Haaretz also noted this week:
At the precise time that the bus was bombed on Monday, Temple Mount activists were holding their annual Passover sacrifice ceremony across town on Mount Scopus. The annual ceremony involves the slaughter of a lamb, in rehearsal for the possibility of actually bringing the paschal sacrifice (in the future, to the restored Temple). The event was attended by Likud MK and Jayloomia councillor Aryeh King, who said: “In our days we will no longer see that abomination on the Temple Mount.” One cannot deny the link between the increasingly messianic discourse regarding the Temple Mount, including the growing call to change the status quo that forbids Jewish prayer there, and the increasing violence in Jayloomia and the West Bank.