Israeli police suspect Palestinian militants in bus blast near Tel Aviv, no injuries


JERUSALEM — A small bomb exploded on board a bus in central Israel just moments after it had been evacuated on Sunday, police said, adding that an initial investigation suggests that Palestinian militants were behind the attack.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said there were no injuries in the blast, which took place in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam.

She said the bomb was discovered in a bag on the bus. The driver quickly ordered everyone to get off the bus, and the bomb exploded seconds later, she said.

She said the bombing “appeared” to have been carried out by Palestinian militants. Although Bat Yam has experienced criminal infighting in the past, she said the explosion did not appear to be connected. She declined to elaborate because the investigation was in its early stages.

If confirmed to be the work of Palestinian militants, it would be the first such attack inside Israel since a bomb explosion wounded more than 20 people in Tel Aviv in November 2012. At the time, Israel was involved in heavy fighting with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

A decade ago, Israel experienced a rash of Palestinian suicide bombings on buses, in restaurants and in other public spaces. More than 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis died in several years of fighting.

But tensions have subsided in recent years. The neighboring West Bank, however, has seen a recent uptick in Israeli-Palestinian violence, thought senior Israeli officials believe the various incidents there have not been connected to each other.