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Bus bomb in Tel Aviv

by: VOAnewscom - Last updated: 2012-11-21

Attacks rocked both sides of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, despite intensified diplomatic efforts to halt the violence between Israel and Hamas militants that has killed more than 130 Palestinians and five Israelis.

Inside Israel, a bomb blast on a bus in Tel Aviv injured at least 10 people. Authorities are calling it a "terrorist attack" but have not identified the source of the bombing.

Israel emergency responder Yonathan Yogidovski said the scene is secure but that his teams are bracing for yet another attack.

"A bus had an explosion inside due to a bomb, about ten causalities were treated and evacuated by Magen David Adom ambulance teams to the nearby hospital in Tel Aviv," Yogidovski said. "Three of the causalities are severely to moderate injured the rest of the seven are lightly injured. We are still treating some people with anxiety syndrome and scanning the area."

In Gaza City, the bombing met with approval from Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, who said it is revenge for civilian deaths in Gaza in recent days.

"Hamas sends congratulations for this operation which occurred in Tel Aviv and confirms that this is the normal response for targeting...Palestinian women and children," he said. "We will use all means to protect our Palestinian people whilst facing aggression which is targeting Palestinian women and children."

The blast comes as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making another push for a diplomatic solution, who arrived in Cairo Wednesday for talks with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Earlier she met with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank city of Ramallah and Israeli officials in Jerusalem. She issued a statement strongly condemning the Tel Aviv bus bombing as a "terrorist attack."

Late Tuesday, Clinton discussed the volatile situation for two hours with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israel officials.

"The United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region," she said.

Netanyahu said before the meeting he prefers diplomacy to halt cross-border attacks. But he again pledged that Israel will take every action to protect its citizens, adding that no country can tolerate attacks on its citizens. 
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also in the region and discussed the conflict with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Abbas said he was working with the U.N., Jordan and the U.S. toward a peaceful solution. Ban called for an end to the bloodshed, reiterating his belief that a two-state solution is necessary to end the violence permanently between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Abbas does not have any practical influence in Hamas-ruled Gaza, but his West Bank government could be instrumental in implementing a cease-fire agreement on the Gaza side.

Israel and Hamas have traded rocket fire since an Israeli missile killed Hamas' military chief in Gaza City last week. Israel says the attack was a direct response to months of almost daily rocket fire into southern Israel from Gaza. More than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed so far.