Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The fate of a possible truce between Israel and the Gaza Strip is hanging by a thread, after an increase in violence on both sides. Today, shortly after noon, local time, an explosion shattered a bus in Tel Aviv, close to a national defense office. About 21 people were injured, only one is in serious condition. Soon after, the Israeli air force carried out several airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing seven Palestinians, including several children.
The bomb on the bus exploded at the corner of Shaul Hamelech Street and Henrietta Szold Street. An hour after the explosion, one suspect was arrested but was released after questioning. The police and government are convinced it was a terrorist act. The alarm level has been increased in the area and for a few hours school children were forbidden to go home by bus. The last sizeable bomb exploded in Tel Aviv in 2006, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a sandwich shop, near the bus station. The suicide bombing killed 11.
Yohanan Danino, the Police Commissioner in charge of the investigations at the site of the bomb, thinks that Israel must prepare for "other challenges" because "the talks about a cease-fire just caused further [terror] attempts."
According to media reports on both sides, the news of the bomb, announced on Israeli radio, was welcomed in Gaza with gestures of exultation: praise and gunshots in the air, almost like a celebration.
In response, in the early afternoon, the Israeli air force launched several airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, killing at least seven people.
Abdul Rahman Naem, a two year old child, was killed at the
Nima tower block, in Gaza. A man, Talal al-Asalai, and his son Ayman and
daughter Hadeel, were killed in Beit Hanoun. Mubarak al-Ghoula met his death in
the refugee camp of Nuseirat. Mohammad al-Shqar, 22, and her 13 year old son,
Mahmoud Abu Khusa, were killed at a gas station near al-Khanzandar (Gaza City).
Immediately after the explosion, an airstrike hit the Yarmouk sports stadium,
injuring two people.
Over the past 10 years, in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, at least 1,000 Israelis and more than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed.
In the current operation "Pillar of Defense," now in its eighth day, Israel has made over 1,500 airstrikes, killing 158 Palestinians. The Hamas militants have launched 1,400 rockets into Israel, killing four civilians and a soldier.