TEL AVIV — At least 21 people were injured after a bomb blast tore through a bus in Jerusalem on Monday, Israeli officials said.
Police and the city mayor’s office said the blast was caused by an “explosive device” at the rear of one bus, with fire then spreading to a second bus and a car.
“Police bomb disposal experts confirm (an) explosive device went off on (the) bus that caused 21 injuries,” police spokesman said on Twitter.
The incident happened in Derech Hebron, an area in southwest Jerusalem close to the boundary with the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to The Associated Press.
Israeli authorities had initially called the incident a “terror attack,” but appeared to quickly walk back that assessment.
“We are still checking if this was a terror or criminal incident,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. A spokesperson for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat would not give any more information.
Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service said at least two of the injured were in a severe condition. TV pictures showed smoke billowing from two burned-out buses.
Police forensics and bomb disposal experts examining scene to determine cause of explosion on bus in Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/RBkZkaQb3G
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) April 18, 2016
The incident came amid a seven-month wave of Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, in which 28 Israelis and two Americans have been killed, according to a count by the AP. At least 189 Palestinians have been killed in that period. Israel says most of the dead were attackers, with the rest killed in clashes.