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March 23, 2023

More bombs, more rockets, more diplomacy for Israel and Gaza

22 injured in explosion on bus in Tel Aviv.

A bomb exploded on a bus in Tel Aviv Wednesday but did not kill anyone, as it passed by Israeli army headquarters around noon. The attack shook up passengers and the Israeli public on the eighth day of violence between Israel and Gaza that has the world’s top diplomats shuttling between Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians pleading for peace, CNN reports.Israeli bombs and artillery turned buildings, tunnels and bridges in Gaza into rubble overnight in 100 strikes confirmed by Israeli authorities, while Hamas media boasted about their militants’ rockets hissing off in the direction of populated areas of southern Israel.One passenger sustained moderate to serious injuries, according to medical relief agency Magen David Adom. Eight were slightly injured, and 14 more suffered from shock.Hamas praised the attack but did not claim responsibility.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shuttled from meetings with Palestinian to Israeli leadership Wednesday, after hopes of an imminent agreement between Hamas and Israeli leaders that could have halted the explosive carnage at least for a while dissolved Tuesday.Clinton met early with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank, according to the U.S. Embassy, and will sit down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for a second day.U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also met with Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday morning.“Today the situation in Gaza is deeply alarming,” Ban said standing next to Abbas at a press conference. “Rockets aimed at military targets inside Gaza are killing and injuring civilians and damaging…civilian infrastructures,” he said.Ban sadly recalled his visit in 2009 during the Israeli incursion into Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.“It is quite painful for me as secretary general and also personal(ly) as a human being to be back for the same reason,” he said.He demanded that diplomacy pave the way forward and called for the emergence of a Palestinian state.Secretary Clinton is also to meet with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, who is working to broker a cease-fire. Clinton is not expected to travel to Gaza, which is run by Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and other countries.Pope Benedict, speaking from Vatican City, called Wednesday for both sides to end the violence. “I feel the duty to reiterate once again that hatred and violence are not the solution to problems,” he said.White smoke rose up from the bombed public transportation bus in Tel Aviv, as seen in images on Israeli TV, but from the outside the vehicle appeared intact. At least one passenger was taken out on a stretcher.An unexploded bomb was still on the bus, said Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister.At the scene of the bus bombing, police cordoned off the street and ambulances arrived at the scene.There is a hospital nearby, said CNN’s Sara Sidner. An eyewitness told her that the windows of the bus were shattered and a bomb squad has approached it.Rumors of a suicide bombing circulated on social media and Hamas’ TV station, but accounts by authorities and witnesses seemed to quickly dispel them.“A bus explodes under my Tel Aviv office,” said military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich on Twitter. “Possibly due to a bomb or suicide bomber. Hearing the sirens of the ambulances.”No one was found dead on the bus, according to authorities. Two people, speaking live on Israeli radio, said they witnessed the attack and that they saw a male throw a bag into the bus and then run away after the explosion.

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