Twenty-eight people have been injured in a bus bombing in central Tel Aviv at the corner of of Shaul Hamelech and Henrietta Szold Streets. Police say the blast was a terrorist attack.
IDF Spokesperson Leibovitz confirmed on twitter that the bomb went off near the Israel Defence Ministry’s offices.
Authorities raised security in the area to a level-4 alert. Bystanders were ordered to stay away from the scene as police closed off the nearby Azrieli Center compound, though no additional terror plots are suspected.
Police have been checking all bags in the area, but children are now allowed to go home after initially being ordered to stay inside their schools.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson also confirmed the bombing was a terrorist attack.
The bomb was triggered remotely. Another explosive that did not detonate was reportedly found on the bombed bus.
Police are searching for two people involved in the attack, contradicting previous reports of a single suspect. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the bomber flee the scene, Israeli radio said.
They say they took a man into custody about half an hour after the explosion, but have since released him.
Conflicting accounts of the culprit behind the attack have emerged. The Group of the Martyr Jihad Jibril, a wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, considered Fatah's military wing, both claimed responsibility, according to media reports.
Hamas “blessed” the attack in Tel Aviv and called it a natural response to the Israeli killing of the Al-Dalou family and other civilians in Gaza, Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV reported.
This bombing is the first one in Tel Aviv since 2006.