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Bus explodes in central Tel Aviv, first terror attack in the city since 2006

Published: 21 November, 2012, 14:14

TAGS:
Israel, Blast

TRENDS:
Israel-Gaza strikes

An Israeli police officer looks at a damaged bus after an explosion in Tel Aviv November 21, 2012 (Reuters / Nir Elias)

Sixteen people have been confirmed injured in a bus bombing in central Tel Aviv at the corner of of Shaul Hamelech and Henrietta Szold Streets, according to the Jerusalem Post. Police say the blast was a terrorist attack.

IDF Spokesperson Leibovitz confirmed on twitter that the bomb went off near the Israel Defence Ministry’s offices.

Authorities raised security in the area to a level-4 alert. Bystanders were ordered to stay away from the scene as police closed off the nearby Azrieli Center compound, though no additional terror plots are suspected.

Police have been checking all bags in the area, but children are now allowed to go home after initially being ordered to stay inside their schools.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson also confirmed the bombing was a terrorist attack.

The bomb was triggered remotely. Another explosive that did not detonate was reportedly found on the bombed bus.

Police are searching for two people involved in the attack, contradicting previous reports of a single suspect. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the bomber flee the scene, Israeli radio said.

They say they took a man into custody about half an hour after the explosion, but have since released him.

Conflicting reports have emerged on the culprit behind the attack, with both Hamas and the ‘Lions of West Bank’ allegedly claiming credit on behalf of Hamas’ Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam brigades. However, neither has come forward.

Hamas “blessed” the attack in Tel Aviv and called it a natural response to the Israeli killing of the Al-Dalou family and other civilians in Gaza, Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV reported.

This bombing is the first one in Tel Aviv since 2006.

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