A massive blast occured at around noon Wednesday on bus line 142 on Shaul Hamelech Street - at the heart of Tel Aviv, near the Kirya military compound. Rescue forces reported of a mass casualty event. It is suspected there may be a second device.
Twenty-eight people were injured; two people sustained moderate to serious injuries, while the rest were lightly wounded. Four people suffered shock.
The security establishment estimates that whoever orchestrated the attack was not a member of a known terror organization.
Police commissioner Yohanan Danino said that all signs point to a terror attack, adding that police are searching for the explosive device and the terror suspects. Police suspect that the explosive device was placed under one of the seats in the middle of the bus.
Bus following explosion (Photo: Gal Sabag)
Photo: Yoel Feldman
Photo: Ofer Amram
An eye witness at the scene said: "I heard a boom and then saw a black cloud. Guys in the cab radio said 'A bus is dismantled.'"
Eye witnesses near the Kirya reported that the loudspeakers at the compound called all soldiers to take cover. Many police cars arrived at the area.
Yoni Yossef of ZAKA was one of the first people to arrive at the scene. "There were panic and chaos," he said; "People were lying outside the bus. Paramedics started to arrive. People aren’t used to this. It's taking us years back."
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich arrived at the scene of the attack with Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino.
"Such a terror attack has great significance," Aharonovich said. "Hamas is a murderous organization that stands for the destruction of Israel. We have to strike all terror hubs."
Tomer Simon, an eye witness, recounted: "There was a horrible explosion; we were sure at first that it’s a hit on Tel Aviv and the sirens just didn’t go off. I opened my office window and saw the bus crushed."
Simon added: "I ran and tried to help those who were injured as much as I could. All the windows of the bus were smashed."