Woman dead, 30 wounded in Jerusalem bus station bomb

The bomb exploded near Jerusalem's central bus station

The bomb exploded near Jerusalem's central bus station

A woman was killed and up to 30 civilians were injured, including at least four severely, when a bomb exploded near the Jerusalem bus station at lunchtime today.

Terror group Al Jihad al Islami (Islamic Jihad) is believed to have claimed responsibility for the attack, which police said occurred when a bag containing a bomb was left at a stop along the busy route of the 74 bus. The blast was strong enough to shake buildings hundreds of metres away.

Volunteers from rescue organisation ZAKA were on the scenes minutes after the attack. Motti Bukchin said: “We immediately began treating the wounded – two women who were lying on the pavement, by the side of the bus - and evacuating them to hospital.”

The victims were mainly under the age of 30, according to doctors treating them.

Shlomo Steiner, who witnessed the blast, told Israel’s Ynet that he saw smoke and a man with his legs on fire after the attack. He said: “I saw people lying on the ground and then rescue forces started pouring in. It was all very scary."

Jerusalem was last hit by a suicide bomb attack seven years ago.

Mr Bukchin added: “We have not witnessed scenes like these in Jerusalem for years.”

The area has been closed off and police are investigating whether other bombs have been planted in the city.

The explosion followed attacks on southern Israel earlier today, when two rockets and ten mortar shells were fired by Hamas terrorists into residential areas.

Last updated: 3:06pm, March 23 2011