Suicide bombing on bus in Tel Aviv
There's been a suicide bombing on a bus in Tel Aviv. It's at the corner of Shaul haMelech and Weizman Streets, a block or two from Ichilov Hospital.
More to follow (this will be a liveblog).
UPDATE 12:18 PM
Shaul haMelech, Weizmann and Namir. Across from the IDF headquarters. Near the courts. I used to work in the area. No bus number yet.
About 10 wounded - three moderate to serious, the rest light, at least as of now.
UPDATE 12:21 PM
Officially, not yet classified as a terror attack - just an explosion.
Double bus (accordion), mostly empty. Everyone on bus was hurt.
Bus windows all blown out. Cannot see number. It's a Dan bus.
UPDATE 12:25 PM
Apparently not a huge bomb. But lots of noise.
Israel radio is interviewing an eyewitness - a lawyer - who says that the police are not letting people out of nearby buildings because they're afraid that the terrorist was not on the bus and that he escaped. He says that the driver was brought into his office building (!) on a stretcher.
To call Ichilov Hospital if you're afraid you have relatives there, the number is 1255133 from within Israel.
Now interviewing Rina Matzliach of IDF radio. Describes what she saw. Bus with shrapnel and smoke. Thought it was a missile.
Tel Aviv police chief says it happened just after 12:00 noon. All injured already evacuated. Police now checking what caused explosion. Everything is being checked, but most likely a terror attack. They're asking about the lawyer's claim that the terrorist may be in the area. The police say they are checking everything. Didn't dismiss it flat out.
UPDATE 12:36 PM
Live television broadcast (not embeddable, Hebrew only) here.
Television says that they think that the terrorists threw the bomb onto the bus when it stopped at the corner of Shaul HaMelech and Henrietta Szold. The police are chasing after a suspect. There is no terrorist body.
UPDATE 12:40 PM
No additional explosive on the bus.
Police have caught the suspect, but not clear that he's the right one. They caught him 1-2 kilometers away. They're removing his clothes which is standard procedure when they suspect someone may have explosives on him. There may be other suspects.
UPDATE 1:03 PM
The bus was a #61 Dan Bus from Tel Aviv to Petach Tikva (makes a lot of stops).
Rumor has it that the terrorist they caught was a woman.
Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich of the IDF spokesperson's office tweeted that it happened under her window at the Kirya (IDF base in Tel Aviv).
UPDATE 1:13 PM
The person they caught was NOT the terrorist.
It was a #142 bus, not a #61. I'm not familiar with the #142.
Hamas has taken responsibility. Not clear if from Gaza or from Judea and Samaria.
This is the first terror attack in Tel Aviv in a long time.
The terrorist is short, plump with a yellow and green sweater. It was not a suicide bombing and the terrorist has (apparently) escaped.
They call on all residents of the area to go about their normal business.
UPDATE 1:24 PM
UPDATE 1:31 PM
Hamas' reaction - about what you'd expect.
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, and reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.
"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.
That would be the Passover bombing that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz.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.