US condemns bus bombing in Tel Aviv

2012-11-21 15:55
Israeli police officers examine a destroyed bus at the site of a bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel.(Dan Balilty, AP)

Israeli police officers examine a destroyed bus at the site of a bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel.(Dan Balilty, AP)

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Washington - The United States condemned a bus bombing that injured 17 people in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and undermined attempts to mediate a ceasefire in Gaza, branding it a "terrorist attack".

"These attacks against innocent Israeli civilians are outrageous," the White House said, reaffirming Washington's "unshakeable commitment to Israel's security and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people".

"The United States will stand with our Israeli allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack," it said, in a statement.

Police said the blast erupted as the bus passed behind the Kiriya, Israel's sprawling defense ministry in the centre of Tel Aviv.

Television images showed the bus with its windows blown out and its metal frame contorted from the force of the blast, in images reminiscent of scenes from the second Palestinian intifada between 2000 and 2005.

The attack came as Hamas-controlled Gaza was rocked by new Israeli air strikes and as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN chief Ban Ki-moon shuttled between Jerusalem and Ramallah trying to secure a ceasefire.

Gaza toll rises

Just before the blast and after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Ban had appealed for an immediate halt to militant rocket attacks on Israel.

Clinton, upon arrival in Cairo for a series of emergency meetings, including talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, aimed at de-escalating the crisis, also slammed the attack.

"The United States strongly condemns this terrorist attack and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the people of Israel," she said. "The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that Israel requires."

Meanwhile, five Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on Wednesday, raising the day's toll to nine and, and hiking the overall number of people killed to 146, medics said.

"At least five Palestinians were killed in new Israeli air strikes on Gaza City," the Hamas health ministry said in a statement. Earlier another four people were killed in several strikes across the enclave, medics said.

Read more on:    un  |  mahmoud abbas  |  hillary clinton  |  ban ki-moon  |  israel  |  us  |  gaza strip  |  middle east peace
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