An explosion tore apart a bus in downtown Tel Aviv wounding 10 on Wednesday, hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the region to help broker a cease-fire after eight days of fighting.
The death toll since the beginning of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense includes five Israelis and 133 Palestinians, 79 of whom are militants, according to Associated Press numbers as of Tuesday night. Clinton met with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday, considered a critical linchpin in negotiating a peace between Hamas and Israel. She travels to Israel on Wednesday.
It is not clear who is responsible for the bomb in Israel's second-most populated city, though Clinton classified it as a "terrorist attack," according to a State Department release. A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces says Hamas was responsible for 50 percent of suicide bombers in the early 2000s.
Clinton says the U.S. "stands ready to provide any assistance that Israel requires." The White House has openly supported Israel during the fighting, and defended their right to protect themselves.
The Israeli government is not planning any particular retaliatory measures in response to this attack.
"Our policy is very simple: As long as there is fire from Gaza, we will continue to defend ourselves," an Israeli official tells U.S. News. "We are not taking isolated incidents and deciding policy."
The attack at roughly noon local time took place near an Israeli military headquarters on a busy downtown street.
Some witnesses claim they saw a man approach the bus and throw a bag inside moments before the explosion, according to the Los Angeles Times. Check out these tweets from the scene of the explosion:
Photo from the scene of the bus bombing in Tel Aviv this afternoon twitter.com/IDFSpokesperso…
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) November 21, 2012
— Info KNRP (@InfoKNRP) November 21, 2012
Bus explosion in Tel Aviv was a terrorist attack, atleast 10 injured, 3 critical. Picture 3 twitpic.com/bf2ydu
— Vostvitzech (@Vostvitzech) November 21, 2012
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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org