Jerusalem: A bomb blast ripped through a bus in Jerusalem on Monday and sparked a fire, wounding at least 21 people, Israeli police said, in an apparent escalation in a wave of violence.

Forensics search the remains of the burnt-out in Jerusalem. Pic/AFPForensics search the remains of the burnt-out in Jerusalem. Pic/AFP

Details were still emerging, but police said a bomb had exploded on one bus in a relatively isolated area of Jerusalem, sparking a fire that spread to another one, as well as a car.

Israeli domestic security agency Shin Bet referred to the explosion as a “terror attack”. The bombing was expected to lead to a sharp increase in security ahead of Jewish Passover celebrations beginning Friday night.

If confirmed as a Palestinian bombing, it would both reverse a decline in a wave of violence that erupted in October and mark an escalation, with most of the attacks being stabbings.

Police said 21 people were injured, with medics reporting at least two hurt seriously. Police were investigating whether any of the wounded were behind the bombing.

Authorities initially said most of the wounded were passengers on the second bus, though conflicting information later emerged.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on residents to be vigilant, “bt continue with your plans” “ere in Jerusalem and in Israel, we go back to normal life as fast as possible,” he said.

“It’s part of the deep understanding that if it’s a terror attack, they want to deter us from our normal life, and what we must do... is go back to normal life as fast as possible.”