NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NYPD has begun conducting random inspections on buses, out of an abundance of caution, after an attempted terror attack in Israel.
The action by the NYPD followed a pipe bomb explosion on a bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam. Police said one passenger noticed a suspicious package and told the driver, who ordered everyone off.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said there were no injuries in the blast. The explosive detonated as an expert inspected it, and he also escaped without injury.
The explosion blew windows out of the bus and charred the sides of the vehicle.
“Based on the findings at the scene by bomb disposal experts, it was a terrorist attack,” Rosenfeld said. “We’re continuing to search the area for suspects.”
Rosenfeld said the nature of the target and the nature of the device led authorities to determine that militants, not criminals, were behind the bombing. He declined to elaborate, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
President Shimon Peres later phoned and thanked the bus driver and the passenger who discovered the explosive, saying their actions saved lives.
“The nation owes you a debt of gratitude and I would like to personally congratulate you for this act of bravery,” Peres told bus driver Michael Yoger.
The Israeli government suspects the bomb was planted by Palestinian militants.
It was the most serious 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.
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