Explosion hits Tel Aviv bus, 17 casualties

Explosion hits Tel Aviv bus, 17 casualties

TEL AVIV - Reuters
Explosion hits Tel Aviv bus, 17 casualties

Israeli police survey the scene after an explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv November 21, 2012. REUTERS Photo

An explosion hit a bus in the heart of Tel Aviv today, wounding 17 people in what officials said was a terrorist attack.
The blast shattered windows on the bus, which was driving on a street that runs alongside Israel's defence headquarters. Israel's ambulance service said three of the wounded were in a moderate-to-serious condition.
"A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv. This was a terrorist attack. Most of the injured suffered only mild injuries," said Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a message on Twitter, he said police were combing the area for the person who planted the device, apparently confirming reports that it was not a suicide attack. Israeli media said a man had been arrested.
The bombing happened on the eighth day of an Israeli offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and threatened to complicate Egyptian-led efforts to secure a ceasefire.
Celebratory gunfire rang out in Gaza City when local radio stations reported news of the Tel Aviv explosion.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the bombing, but stopped short of claiming responsibility.
"Hamas blesses the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres...in Gaza," he told Reuters.
"Palestinian factions will resort to all means in order to protect our Palestinian civilians in the absence of a world effort to stop the Israeli aggression," Abu Zuhri said.
The last time Israel's commercial capital was hit by a serious bomb blast was in April 2006, when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 11 people at a sandwich stand near the city's old central bus station.

France,US and Russia condemn Tel Aviv bus attack 'targeting civilians'

PARIS/WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday condemned a bomb attack on a bus in Tel Aviv that wounded 17 people as counter to attempts to end Gaza-linked violence.
"I condemn in the strongest terms the attack that has just taken place in Tel Aviv, targeting civilians at a time when everything must be done to obtain a ceasefire," Fabius said in a statement.
"It is urgent to establish a lasting ceasefire. I will speak again today with my Israeli, Egyptian and American counterparts," Fabius said.
White House condemns 'terrorist' bus bombing in Tel Aviv

The blast took place as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on how to end a deadly spike in bloodshed in and around Gaza over the past week.

The United States condemned a bus bombing that injured 17 people in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and undermined attempts to mediate a ceasefire in Gaza, branding it a "terrorist attack." "These attacks against innocent Israeli civilians are outrageous," the White House said, in a statement that reaffirmed Washington's "unshakable commitment to Israel's security."

Russia condemns 'criminal terrorist act' in Tel Aviv

Russia condemned a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that wounded 17 people on Wednesday as a "criminal terrorist act" and renewed calls to halt violence in Gaza.

"Moscow strongly condemns this criminal terrorist act," the Russian foreign ministry said a statement. Noting the continuing violence in the Gaza Strip, it added: "We are renewing our call on the sides to immediately put an end to the military confrontation."