Sunday, December 22, 2013

Israel: IED Placed on Bus Near Tel Aviv Evacuated Before Device Detonated

According to USA Today and The Associated Press, an IED (improvised explosive device) Israeli police say was placed aboard a city bus on Sunday (December 22) near Tel Aviv by Palestinian terrorists detonated shortly after it was evacuated, resulting in no serious injuries.
A passenger on the No. 240 bus in Bat Yam, a town south of Tel Aviv, spotted a suspicious-looking backpack and alerted the driver. Observing wires inside the bag, the driver evacuated the passengers and contacted the bomb squad.

Within minutes of the evacuation, a member of the bomb squad was slightly injured when the bomb he was attempting to defuse detonated.  The blast blew out or shattered all of the bus' windows but caused no other injuries.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

COMMENT: The detonation comes at a tense time after a US-brokered peace deal had been negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians, who returned to the negotiating table during the summer for the first time in half a decade.

Israelis experienced a wave of fatal bus bombings and other terror attacks during the first and second Palestinian uprisings, which occurred in 2004. Despite a relative lull in attacks, in 2011 a bomb exploded at a Jerusalem bus stop, killing a British tourist and injuring 30 bystanders. A November 2012 bus bombing in Tel Aviv injured more than 20.

During the past couple of years an escalation in Palestinian rock-throwing attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank has resulted in several injuries and some deaths.

Aviv Oreg, former head of the Global Jihad desk of the Israel Defense Forces, said the fact that no Israeli passengers were hurt in Sunday's attack bodes well for US Secretary of State John Kerry's ongoing efforts to make substantial gains at the negotiating table.

Needless to say, I strongly discourage foreigners using public buses anywhere in Israel, given the fact that shopping malls and buses are frequent terrorist targets.