A Palestinian teen named by the Hamas terror group as the man who placed a bomb on a bus in Jerusalem on Monday was “a very typical kid,” a source familiar with the family told The Times of Israel on Wednesday night.
Hamas named the 19-year-old from the al-Ayda refugee camp in the Bethlehem area as the bomber, shortly after the Jerusalem hospital treating him announced that he had died of injuries sustained in the terror attack. The group named him as Abed al-Hamid Abu Srour.
The Hamas announcement appeared to fall short of a full claim of responsibility for the blast, in which 21 people were injured.
His father told Channel 2 on Thursday: “I know nothing about any affiliation” to Hamas.
The source, who is familiar with the al-Ayda camp, offered some details about the suspect.
The suspect comes from one of the most prominent clans in the Bethlehem area. “If you say [his family name] in Bethlehem, seven people turn around,” said the source, who asked not to be named.
“His cousin was recently killed by the IDF (during clashes) on the border (the pre-1967 line) between Bethlehem and Beit Jalah,” the source said.
Abu Srour’s family did not believe the cousin was involved in the clashes, which took place in mid-January. Instead they claim he was an innocent bystander, passing through the area on his way to university, when he was shot in the chest, the source said.
“The entire family was definitely impacted by this,” he said.
At a mourning event for the cousin, the suspect was “angry,” the source said.
However, the source doubted the 19-year-old could manufacture his own explosives and instead believed the suspect had been recruited by Hamas to carry out the attack.
“This kid was a very typical kid. The last time I saw him we were sitting on the street, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes,” the source said.
Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center confirmed earlier Wednesday that a man who was seriously injured in the bombing had died of his injuries.
A teenage girl was seriously hurt and six others were moderately injured in the blast on the number 12 bus in the Talpiot neighborhood of the capital, police and paramedics said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack by any terrorist groups or individuals but Hamas on Monday welcomed the attack.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld on Tuesday confirmed officers were seeking to question the wounded, and did not rule out the possibility of potential suspects among them.
“The investigation is looking to see how the explosive device was placed on the bus,” Rosenfeld said.
If the suspect was indeed responsible for the bombing, he would not be the first terrorist in the family.
At least two of his relatives, Nasser Hasan Abdul-Hamid Abu Srour and Mahmoud Jamil Hasan Abu Srour, were released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal, which saw the release of 1,027 convicted terrorists in order to bring the kidnapped soldier back to Israel.
Other members of the family, however, are said to be more closely tied to Fatah and hold positions within the United Nation’s Workers Relief Agency, the source said.
Israel Police imposed a gag order on further details of the investigation and any suspects.
The terror attack broke weeks of relative calm in the city after a six-month wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks seemed to be subsiding, and raised fears of a return to a type of violence not seen in Jerusalem for years.
Bus bombings were common during the Second Intifada, or uprising, in the early 2000s, but Monday’s attack was the first bomb targeting a bus in Jerusalem since 2011, when a British tourist was killed by a bomb planted next to a bus stop.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night promised to “find whoever prepared this explosive device.”
“We’ll settle the score with these terrorists,” he said.
Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.