A lone assailant boarded the No. 40 Tel Aviv bus Wednesday morning, waited for it to get crowded, and began stabbing passengers with a knife, according to Israeli authorities. The terrorist attack, which wounded at least 11 Israelis and left three of them in serious condition, was apparently intended as payback for last summer’s war in Gaza.
According to eyewitnesses, the bus suddenly stopped at a green light and people began running out. The assailant, identified as Hamza Mohammed Hasan Matrouk, reportedly lives in the West Bank and entered Israel illegally. Haaretz reports that he didn’t belong to any organized terrorist group, though Hamas leaders called the attack a “heroic act.” The 23-year-old reportedly told police the attack was retribution for Israel’s military action in Gaza last year, which left 2,100 Palestinians dead, as well as for Israel’s decision to limit access to Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
Just days after marching beside Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas following the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed blame squarely on Palestinian Authority leaders. Wednesday’s attack was “the direct result of the poisonous incitement being disseminated by the Palestinian Authority against the Jews and their state,” he said. Unfortunately, the PA is the same organization Secretary of State John Kerry is relying on to forge a peace plan with Israel, after repeated escalations from the more militant Hamas.