On Wednesday, a bomb exploded around noon on a public bus in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. At least 21 people were injured in the attack. Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that a second bomb that did not explode was found on the bombed bus.
Israeli officials are currently searching for the terrorists behind the attack. According to The Jerusalem Post, “[p]olice believe at least one terrorist may still be at large in the area, armed with explosives.”
The terrorist attack has been condemned by the United States, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, among others. In Gaza “[s]weet cakes were handed out in celebration [of the attack] in [the] main hospital,” according to Reuters.
As of now, it is not clear what group or individual was behind the attack. Some reports in the Israeli media have suggested that Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades took responsibility. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have praised the attack, but have not yet taken responsibility for it. On Saturday, Hamas released a video in which it threatened to renew its suicide bombing campaign, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The last bomb attack in Tel Aviv took place in April 2006, when a suicide bomber killed 11 people and wounded over 60 more. And in Jerusalem, a bomb attack in March 2011 killed a British woman, Mary Jean Gardner, and injured more than 25 people, including six Americans.
Wednesday’s attack comes on the eighth day of Operation Pillar of Defense, which began with the targeted killing of Hamas’s Ahmed Jabari in response to incessant rocket and mortar fire from Palestinian terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip.
Since the killing of Jabari, the Israeli Air Force has carried out over 1,000 airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip targeting rocket launch sites, including Fajr 5 missiles; weapons caches; and Hamas’s drone program. Meanwhile, terror groups in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, have launched over 1,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel.