Hamas, Islamic Jihad 'welcome' terror attack on Bat Yam bus

Passengers narrowly escape bomb after alert passenger spots suspicious package on back seat, bomb exploded moments after passengers get off bus; Islamic Jihad source says he hopes attack will usher the return of suicide bombings.

Bat Yam bus bombing 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Bat Yam bus bombing 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The Hamas and the Islamic Jihad "welcomed" the terror attack on a Bat Yam bus on Sunday, but did not claim responsibility for the bombing, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
In an official press release issued by Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, the organization welcomed the attack, that was a "response to the crimes of the occupation."
An Islamic Jihad source said he hoped this attack "could usher the resumption of suicide attacks."
The attack was "a sign that the Palestinian people no longer accept that Israeli attacks [against the Palestinians] continue without any real response," the source told Ma'an.
It was the resistance's duty to protect the Palestinian people from "Israel's crimes, US support for the occupation and Arab impotence," that were continuing under the cover of peace talks, he added.
A bomb detonated at the back of a bus in Bat Yam on Sunday afternoon, in what police suspect was a terrorist attack.
Passengers on Dan 240 bus that goes from the Bnei Brak to the Bat Yam cemetery noticed a suspicious package at the back of the bus.
They alerted the bus driver, who asked if the black bag belonged to anyone and when no one answered, he stopped the bus at the corner of Mivtza Sinai and Katznelson streets in Bat Yam, ordered the passengers off the bus, and alerted police, who sent bomb experts to the scene.
One of the passengers on the bus, David Papo, opened the bag. He said the big black bag had what looked like a pressure cooker inside of it with red wire coming out of it.
The 12 passengers that were on the bus and its driver were evacuated from the area and were 15 meters away when the bomb went off. The blast occurred 10 minutes after passengers were evacuated, the driver said.
The bomb went off before police bomb experts had a chance to defuse it.
One policeman was lightly injured in his ear from the blast noise.
Police are saying that while they are not yet sure if the motive was criminal or nationalist, they are suspecting a terror attack.
In wake of the bus blast, the national police chief ordered an increase in police presence in public places, and called for public to increase awareness and notify the police of any suspicious packages.