Israel arrests bus-bombing suspects | News | DW | 23.11.2012
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Israel arrests bus-bombing suspects

Israeli authorities say they have arrested the main suspect in a bus bombing that injured several people earlier this week. The attack threatened to scupper a truce between Israel and Hamas.

Police said the main suspect was an Arab Israeli man and that he had been taken into custody on Wednesday night, the same day the attack took place. They said a number of Palestinians with links to the Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad had also been arrested in connection with the attack.

Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet, said it was continuing to question the suspects.

"The investigation is still underway and other arrests are expected," Shin Bet said in a press statement.

The main suspect is reported to be a Palestinian originally from the West Bank, but who gained Israeli citizenship due to his marriage to an Arab Israeli, according to the DPA news agency.

He is accused of placing the bomb on the bus, before detonating it at a corner in central Tel Aviv using a mobile phone. While no one was killed in the blast, at least 15 people were injured - with some sources putting that figure as high as 29.

Watch video 01:46

Gaza cease-fire holding

There had been fears that the bombing would jeopardize negotiations towards a cease-fire between Israeli forces and the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. However, the Egyptian-brokered truce, meant to end an Israeli air offensive on Gaza and rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants, came into force a few hours later and appears to be holding.

Earlier on Thursday, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) announced that they had arrested 55 suspects they described as "terror operatives" in the West Bank. A statement posted on the IDF's website said the arrests had come "in light of recent terrorist activity" and that the raids were aimed at restoring calm to the area.

Israel's air offensive on Gaza had led to a series of protests in the West Bank. Two Palestinian demonstrators were killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.

pfd/jr (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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