Passenger alertness prevented a tragedy Sunday after travelers on Bus 240 from Bat Yam to Bnei Brak noticed a suspicious bag with wires sticking out from it and alerted the bus driver who quickly evacuated the bus, only minutes before the bomb went off and lightly wounded a police officer.
Senior Hamas official Moshir al-Masri did not take responsibility for the attack but attempted to contextualize it, saying: "It would be best if Israel would come to understand that it will know no stability as long as the Palestinians live in instability."
The Islamic Jihad was quick to follow suit and also issued a statement praising the attack. Ahmed al-Mudlal, a senior official with the terror group, said that battle between Israel and resistance movement continues and that armed groups will never wave a white flag in surrender.
"We refuse to sit quietly while Israel tramples the rights of the Palestinian people," said, claiming that the Palestinians were on the brink of launching a new wave of attacks against Israel.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman slammed the attack, saying: "The attempted attack on the Bat Yam is a reminder, despite the fact that it ended well, that the terror that threatens us never rests.
"'The quiet periods' which we enjoy are the result of the important preventative work done by security organizations, and not because the terrorists took a time out due to negotiations... it is vital to always remember that the enemies who seek to hurt us will keep trying, and it is up to us to stay be our guard, both as statesmen and as passengers on a bus."
Agreeing with the foreign minister , Hamas's Gaza spokesperson said the bombing proves yet again that despite attempts to quell the armed resistance, it continues. He also said the bombing sends a clear message to Israel according to which the armed resistance will not give up.
Al-Masri also issued a stern warning to Palestinian security officials, warning them not move against Hamas operatives in the West Bank, hinting at the tension between the Fatah led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Islamist rulers of Gaza, who have been highly critical of the PA's security forces cooperation with Israel.
The last bombing to target public transport was in November last year, when a blast hit a crowded commuter bus as it passed the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv during rush hour, injuring 17 people.
In 2011 an explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem ripped through a bus, killing a British tourist and wounding 30 other people. Israel said the 2011 and November 2012 blasts were the work of Palestinian terrorists.
In an October 2013 West Bank raid, Israeli troops killed Islamic Jihad militant Mohammed Assi, described by the army as the "planner" of the 2012 Tel Aviv bus bomb, in a firefight.
AFP contributed to this report
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