Tel Aviv bus bombing suspect is arrested
Israeli police gather after a blast ripped through a bus near the defence ministry in Tel Aviv on November 21, 2012. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL BAR-ON
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Israeli security forces have arrested the man behind the bombing of a Tel Aviv bus, officials said on Saturday. The Israeli citizen, of Arab ethnicity, was allegedly part of a cell including Palestinians from the extremist group, Islamic Jihad and those with links to Hamas.
The bombing, which injured 15 people in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, marked a serious escalation of violence during the most recent seven day conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Authorities in Israel have also arrested a number of Palestinians from the same cell, who allegedly entered Israel via the West Bank. Police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said the Israeli Arab told his Palestinian handlers in the West Bank when the bomb was in place on the bus, and they then detonated the device with a mobile phone.
"The investigation is still under way, and other arrests are expected," the statement said.
The involvement of the West Bank in the attacks has raised fears that Israel could begin the kind of crackdown in this area, not seen since the Second Intifada. On the same day as the bus bombing, the Israeli army had already arrested 55 "terrorist operatives" in the Palestinian Authority's territory.
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