Bus bomb in Bat Yam
Bus bomb in Bat YamFlash 90

Both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups welcomed Sunday’s attack on a bus in the central Israeli city of Bat Yam.

Neither group, however, claimed responsibility for the bombing, in which one officer was lightly wounded.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement quoted by the Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an news agency that the organization welcomed the attack, which he said was a "response to the crimes of the occupation."

A source with the Islamic Jihad group told Ma’an he hoped the attack "could usher the resumption of suicide attacks."

He added that the attack was "a sign that the Palestinian people no longer accept that Israeli attacks [against the Palestinians] continue without any real response.”

The Islamic Jihad terrorist added that it was the resistance's duty to protect the Palestinian people from "Israel's crimes, U.S. support for the occupation and Arab impotence.”

The bombing on Sunday took place shortly after passengers on the bus noticed a suspicious object and reported it to the driver, who quickly removed all passengers from the bus.

A bomb squad officer got on the bus to disarm the device, but it exploded as he approached it. Paramedics and emergency personnel provided him with first aid.

Police credit the passengers and the driver’s alert behavior in avoiding a larger number of casualties

Police have confirmed that based on their initial investigation, the explosion on the number 240 bus from Bnei Brak to Bat Yam was due to a bomb placed by Arab terrorists.

Channel 2 News reported on Sunday night that a manhunt continues for the terrorist who placed the bomb on the bus.

Some security officials estimated that the terror attack is not a signal that a third violent Arab uprising (intifada) is on the way.

Officials have pointed out the similarity between Sunday’s attack and an attack on a Tel Aviv bus in November of 2012, on the last day of the IDF’s counterterrorism Operation Pillar of Defense.

In that attack as well, the terrorist placed the explosive device on the bus and got off it before detonating it by remote control.

Hamas claimed responsibility for that attack, but waited almost a year before doing so. Previously, the group’s chief, Khaled Mashaal, claimed in a television interview that Hamas was not behind the Tel Aviv bombing.