A major tragedy was averted last Sunday afternoon when a passenger noted a suspicious bag left in the back of a bus in Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv.
The bag contained a bomb that went off shortly after the bus was evacuated, lightly wounding one police officer.
The bomb was discovered by the passenger when about a dozen people were in the bus. She notified the driver, who stopped the vehicle and instructed all the passengers to leave immediately.
Five minutes later, police bomb disposal squads arrived on the scene and, as they were preparing to disable the device, it went off, causing very minor injuries to one of the officers. From initial examination of the bomb’s remnants, police believe that it has all the hallmarks of a Palestinian terror attack.
While the police have little doubt the bomb was prepared and left by a terror cell, no organisation has taken responsibility.
Recent months have seen an upsurge in terror activity in the West Bank, although the consensus among security experts is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad do not currently have the technical and operational capabilities to carry out a large terror attack within the Green Line.
This is the first terror attack on a bus in Israel in over a year. In November 2012, on the last day of Operation “Pillar of Defence” in Gaza, a bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv, wounding 28 people. The terror cell behind the attack was comprised of members of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who had planned a series of attacks in revenge for the killing of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari.