Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Israel will employ whatever means are necessary to fight terrorism, an Israeli official said, after a car bomb blew up next to a civilian bus, killing at least eight and wounding at least 40 others.
The number 841 bus left the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shemona in the mid-afternoon on its way to Tel Aviv and was carrying about 30 passengers when a car packed with explosives blew up alongside the bus's fuel tank causing the bus to explode and burst into flames.
"We have a car bomb that explode[d] beside a bus not far from Hadera in northern Israel," police spokesman Ofer Sivan said.
The ensuing fire burned for at least 20 minutes leaving barely a skeleton left standing across the road. Recovery workers could be seen combing the remnants of the bus for bits of human remains.
Police would only say that there were many wounded and some killed, but media reports put the number at 8 dead and hospitals said they had received more than 40 injured from the attack.
According to Sivan, there were general warnings of attacks but no specific warnings of a terrorist strike on this particular bus, road or in the area.
One media report quoted security sources as saying that there have been 50 specific warnings of terror attacks in the last month, 32 of which have been thwarted.
There have been numerous suicide bomb attacks where a lone bomber boarded a bus with a bomb and blew up himself and the bus, but this is only the second time that a car bomb has been used to blow up a bus.
In June, a terrorist who learned to drive for the purpose of the attack rammed a packed civilian bus killing 17.
Hizballah's television station in Lebanon "Al-Manar" reported that Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for Monday's attack, although it is not uncommon for other groups to make the same claim later.
The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack.
"We condemn on behalf of the Palestinian Authority this attack as much as we condemn the killing of civilians, whether they are Israelis or Palestinians," PA Minister Saeb Erekat was quoted as saying from Jericho.
"We reiterate that the only way to break this vicious cycle of violence is to restart a meaningful peace process," Erekat added.
An official in the Israeli prime minister's office said this was just another attempt to "kill and maim" Israelis.
"It is another example of vicious Palestinian terror," said the official. "Once against it struck at innocent Israelis. We are determined to wipe out this terror using every means we see fit."
The official refused to speculate on a possible Israeli response, but following the last bus bombing in September in Tel Aviv, Israeli tanks and bulldozers roared into Ramallah and knocked down most of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's headquarters.
Arafat and a number of Palestinians wanted for deep involvement in terror attacks remained holed up in Arafat's office building for a week, before U.S. and international pressure forced Israeli troops to withdrawal.
Israel had demanded that Arafat hand over Palestinians involved in planning and carrying out terror attacks, including his intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi.
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