HAMAS STRIKES THE HEART OF TEL AVIV

Bus blast injures 3 critically, 21 total; suspects apprehended; Gaza residents celebrate

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Hamas terrorists struck the heart of Tel Aviv Wednesday afternoon, when at least one terrorist reportedly place a bomb on a bus near Israel's Pentagon, the Kirya.

Israeli news outlets report that three people were critically injured and 21 were hurt over all.

The terror group that controls the Gaza Strip quickly claimed credit for the attack and Gaza residents celebrated.

It was the first terror attack in Israel's cultural capital since April 2006. The Times of Israel reports:

The explosion on the Dan bus took place on the corner of Shaul Hamelech and Weitzmann streets, an area with many office buildings and heavy pedestrian traffic, close to the army’s Kirya complex.

It was not clear initially if the incident was the result of a suicide bomber. A man was seen placing a bag on the bus and then running away, leading to a police chase through the streets of Tel Aviv. There were also reports of a second suspect. Police arrested at least one person in connection with the bombing, in the stock market compound in Ramat Gan.

Gaza terrorists have fired 180 rockets toward Israel in the last 24 hours. The heavy attack comes after a proposed ceasefire deal was rejected by Israel Tuesday and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon both visited the region urging an end to the conflict.

However, their diplomatic efforts have so far failed. After meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Clinton said:

“America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock sold and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza."

Netanyahu also met with Ban, telling him that Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

But, Netanyahu told Ban, “If stronger military actions prove necessary to stop the constant barrage of rockets, Israel will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our people.”

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