Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Sunday the averted attack on a Bat Yam bus was a reminder that the terror that threatens Israel "never rests."
"The 'quiet periods' which we enjoy are thanks to the important preventive work done all the time by the security services, and not because the terrorists have taken a time out because of the diplomatic negotiations or any other reason," he said in a statement on his Facebook page.
Twelve passengers and the driver of Dan bus 240 in Bat Yam narrowly escaped an explosive device left on the back seat of the bus on Sunday afternoon. An alert passenger on the bus told the driver about the suspicious unaccompanied package, while another passenger, David Papo, looked into the bag and saw what appeared to be a pressure cooker with wires coming out of it.
As a result, the driver evacuated the bus of its passengers and called the police who tried to diffuse the bomb, but it exploded before they had a chance to do so. There were no injuries in the incident.
Liberman, who has repeatedly said he did not think the current talks with the Palestinians will lead anywhere, praised the woman who spotted the bomb on the bus and the bus driver, and said it was necessary for everyone to remember that "the enemies that want to harm us will continue to try, and we all must continue to be on guard – both as diplomats and as bus passengers."
President Shimon Peres called to commend the bus driver, Michael Yugr, telling him, "The people of Israel will say Birkat HaGomel today; you saved so many lives quickly and bravely...They are grateful and we are grateful and I would like to shake your hand on this wonderful deed."
Peres also spoke on the phone with David Papo, the passenger who alerted the driver to the suspicious package, thanking him for his alertness and concern in identifying the explosive. Peres said that Papo's attention to the item saved the lives of the other passengers.