GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A bomb exploded on a bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, potentially complicating efforts by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to pursue an elusive truce between Israel and Hamas, as Israeli air strikes shook the Gaza Strip.
After talks in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Clinton held a second meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before travelling to Egypt for discussions with President Mohamed Mursi, whose country is the main broker in efforts to end eight days of fighting.
In Tel Aviv, targeted by rockets from Gaza that either did not hit the city or were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor system, 15 people were wounded when a commuter bus was blown up near the Defence Ministry and military headquarters.
Israel and the United States branded it a terrorist attack, and a White House statement reaffirmed Washington’s “unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security”.
The explosion, which police said was caused by a bomb placed on the vehicle, touched off celebratory gunfire from militants in Gaza and threatened to complicate truce efforts. It was the first serious bombing in Israel’s commercial capital since 2006
In Gaza, Israel struck more than 100 targets, including a cluster of Hamas government buildings, in attacks that medical officials said killed 10 people, among them a 2-year-old boy.
Israel’s best-selling Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said an emerging outline of a ceasefire agreement called for Egypt to announce a 72-hour ceasefire followed by further talks on long-term understandings.
Under the proposed document, which the newspaper said neither party would be required to sign, Israel would hold its fire, end attacks against top militants and promise to examine ways to ease its blockade of Gaza, controlled by Hamas Islamists who do not recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist.
Hamas, the report said, would pledge not to strike any Israeli target and ensure other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip also stop their attacks.