The Hamas government, meanwhile, declared a state of emergency in the Gaza Strip in anticipation of a massive IDF response to the bombing and the recent spate of rocket and mortar attacks on Israel.
Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip said that Hamas has evacuated most of its civilian and security buildings in the Gaza Strip as part of its precautionary measures.
Many Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders went into hiding after closing their mobilephones, the journalists said.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is on a visit to Moscow, condemned the Jerusalem explosion, his office in Ramallah said, noting that he had also denounced the killing of nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip a day earlier by the IDF.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said in a statement that he “strongly condemns the terror attack in Jerusalem regardless of the identity of the perpetrators.”
Referring to the possibility that Palestinians were behind the attack, Fayyad said it would it be despicable if any Palestinian party was involved, especially in light of the huge damage that such attacks have inflicted on the Palestinians in the past.
Hamas representatives in the Gaza Strip hailed the attack as a “natural response to Israeli crimes against Palestinians.”
Ehab Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, said that his government has acted in accordance with an emergency plan that envisages a massive IDF strike in the Gaza Strip.
He said that in line with the plan, Hamas evacuated security installations throughout the Gaza Strip out of fear that they could be targeted by Israeli warplanes.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israeli threats to retaliate in response to the terror attacks don’t scare his movement or the Palestinians.
Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip said that the movement has asked Egypt to intervene with Israel to prevent a military confrontation. The officials added that Egyptian authorities were in contact with Hamas and Israel to avoid another war. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reuben writes letters to Ban, Security Council over recent rocket, mortar barrages in South; says attacks are "a clear violation of international law."
NEW YORK – Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuben wrote letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Security Council expressing his “grave concern” in the face of a terror attack at a bus stop in Jerusalem Wednesday.
“Clearly intended to harm innocent civilians, this appalling and criminal attack also injured more than 40 people, according to initial reports, leaving three people in critical condition and five people in serious condition,” Reuben wrote, noting that the attack followed a “marked increase” in terror activity deliberately targeting Israeli civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.
Also on Wednesday, Reuben wrote, a Katuysha rocket was fired close to Ashdod, as well as eight mortars into Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev.
Noting that the past week has seen 63 launches of mortar shells and four rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, Reuben called it “an unprecedented increase in the projectile fire emanating from the Gaza Strip since the end of Operation Cast Lead in 2009.”
As Reuben has noted in six other letters to the Secretary General and Security Council, “such attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip constitute a clear violation of international law and must be addressed with the utmost seriousness.”
“Israel holds the Hamas terrorist organization – the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip – fully responsible for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip,” Reuben wrote. “In response to the relentless attacks against it, Israel has exercised and will continue toexercise its right to self-defense, as appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens. Israel will also do all in its power to bring to justice the terrorists that committed the horrific crimes against its citizens today in Jerusalem.”
The attempt to transfer weaponry from Iran to terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip through Syria by the Victoria, Reuben wrote, is “a blatant violation of numerous Security Council resolutions, including Security Council resolution 1860 –– and represents only the tip of the iceberg of these two countries illegal efforts to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.”
“In view of these troubling developments, Israel expects the Security Council, the Secretary-General, and the international community to condemn all of these attacks in very clear terms and send a firm message to these terrorists and their patrons, which seek to escalate conflict,” Reuben wrote, adding that the international community and Security Council should devote more attention to prevention of arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip.
“Unfortunately, this important issue – an integral part of Security Council resolution 1860 – does not receive the appropriate attention that it deserves,” Reuben concluded.