A bomb exploded on a bus near Tel Aviv on Sunday, shortly after it was evacuated, police said, adding that an initial investigation indicates that it was a terrorist attack. An alert passenger noticed the unaccompanied black bag and told the bus driver who quickly evacuated the bus. Thankfully, no one was injured.
Haaretz After citing a suspicious bag on the bus, a passenger had alerted the driver, who parked the vehicle and ordered all passengers to disembark. Shortly thereafter, after a police bomb squad had arrived at the site and began inspecting the suspicious object, the bomb exploded, shattering all the bus windows and charring the sides of the vehicle. None were wounded in the blast.
According to police, a passenger noticed the suspicious object – a black bag – as the No. 240 bus made its round through the city of Bat Yam, and alerted the driver. The driver stopped the bus and ordered passengers to disembark on the corner of Katzenelson and Mivtza Sinai streets in Bat Yam.
“One of the passengers told me that there is a suspicious bag on the bus,” bus driver Michael Yuger said, recounting the moments leading up to the blast, “I asked, ‘Whose [bag]?’ and was told ‘No one’s.’ I arrived at the bus stop and got the passengers to disembark. Most of the passengers went on to catch other buses to get where they needed to go, and I stayed [by my bus] with another two people. Then a police car arrived and cleared people from the area. Ten minutes later, the bus exploded.”
A passenger on the bus, David Papo, said he examined the suspicious bag before disembarking. “I opened it and saw something [that looked suspicious]… After I took a closer look, I saw a red wire coming out of it and I immediately understood what it was.” He then disembarked from the bus together with the other passengers.
It is not yet clear who planted the bomb, though police and Shin Bet believe that it was a Palestinian terrorist attack, and are treating it as such. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad reported extensively on the explosion on their websites, but refrained from claiming responsibility.
The last explosion on a Tel Aviv bus occurred in November 2012, on the No. 142. At least 28 people were wounded in that incident. An Israeli Arab pleaded guilty earlier this month to planting the bomb for political reasons.