Tel Aviv bus hit by bomb; Hamas celebrates

An explosion and smoke is seen after what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike on tunnels in the border of southern Gaza Strip.

A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding 15 people in what Israeli officials said was a terrorist attack that could complicate efforts to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Celebratory gunfire rang out across Gaza as the news spread and the territory’s Islamist rulers Hamas praised the bombing, but no one claimed immediate responsibility.

The blast shattered windows on the bus as it drove along a tree-lined street next to Israel’s huge defense ministry headquarters. Israel’s ambulance service said four people suffered moderate-to-severe injuries and 11 were lightly hurt.

Police said it was not a suicide attack and suggested that someone might have left the device on the number 142 bus.

The driver, who escaped largely unscathed, told reporters he had not seen anyone suspicious get on board.

“I felt the explosion … Smoke was everywhere, you couldn’t see a thing,” he said. The blue and white vehicle was not torn apart by the blast, indicating it was a relatively small device.

The bombing happened on the eighth day of an Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip and coincided with intensive diplomatic efforts to secure a lasting truce.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri hailed the explosion.

“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.”

Sweet cakes were handed out in celebration in Gaza’s main hospital, which has been inundated with wounded from the round-the-clock Israeli bombing and shelling.

The White House on Wednesday condemned the deadly bus bombing in Tel Aviv and said it would help Israel catch those responsible.

“GATES OF HELL”

“You opened the gates of hell on yourselves,” Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam brigades, said on Twitter. “Oh Zionists, you have to drag yourselves out of hell, go back home now, go back to Germany, Poland, Russia, America and anywhere else.”

The last time a bomb blast hit Israel’s commercial capital was in April 2006, when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 11 people at a sandwich stand near the old central bus station.

Hamas militants have fired at least four rockets at the laid-back Mediterranean metropolis over the past week, but they scored no direct hits and caused no casualties.

Israel launched its air offensive with the stated aim of halting all missile launches out of the Gaza Strip, which lies some 70 km (40 miles) south of Tel Aviv, a cosmopolitan city renowned for its nightlife and vibrant beach culture.

Hamas had warned when the latest conflict flared that it would not confine itself to unleashing rockets.

“This was a terror attack. There is a massive preparedness within the police and security forces. We must keep awareness to a maximum. These are not normal times,” said Israel’s Police Chief Yohanan Danino.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon denounced the attack, saying nothing justified the targeting of civilians.

The United States, Israel’s main ally, also condemned the bus bombing. “These attacks against innocent Israeli civilians are outrageous,” the White House said.

More than 140 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, have died so far in Israel’s Gaza offensive. Five Israelis, including one soldier, have also been killed.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, trying to calm tensions over Gaza, flew from Israel to Cairo to meet Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, who is spearheading ceasefire negotiations.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.