Today in Terrorism: November 21, 2012 – Tel Aviv bus bombing

The 2012 Tel Aviv bus bombing was a mass-injury terror attack carried out on a crowded passenger bus driving in the center of Tel Aviv’s business district.

Israel is at constant risk of attacks by Islamist terrorist groups arising from a seemingly irresolvable conflict

You gotta feel for the state of Israel. The self-styled Jewish homeland has been a nation since 1948 and has been at risk of war and terrorist attacks pretty much since day one. Neighbouring countries have launched wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and Israel itself has engaged in military action against Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

A whole host of terrorist entities have also been very active in planning and executing attacks in Israel proper and the Occupied Territories (aka the West Bank). The more well-known of these are Hizballah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and, at least historically, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

And then there is Hamas.

An Arabic acronym for Al Harakat Al Muqawamah al-ʾIslamiyyah or Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas was created in 1987 during the so-called first ‘Intifadah‘ or uprising in Gaza and the Occupied Territories. It grew out of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that is subject to much disagreement over whether it is a terrorist group, a political party or a hybrid of both.

Hamas has carried out an enormous number of attacks, many of which from the Gaza area where it is also the government. Its tactics include rockets, suicide bombers and even ‘arson attacks‘, caused by incendiary kites and balloons.

2012 Tel Aviv bus bombing

On this day in 2012 24 people were injured in an explosion on a bus in Israel’s commercial capital, Tel Aviv, in what police described as a “terrorist attack”. The bombing happened on the eighth day of an Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, hours before a ceasefire agreement was announced in Egypt.

While Hamas did not take responsibility for the attack, it praised the bombing: We consider it a natural response to the occupation crimes and the ongoing massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip.”  Prior to this attack the last such incident in Tel Aviv was back in April 2006 when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 11 people at a sandwich stand near the city’s old central bus station.

It is hard to be at all optimistic when it comes to Israel and its neighbourhood. Terrorism seems to be an endemic condition in the region. Probably for many people the terms ‘Middle East’, including Israel, and ‘terrorism’ seem synonymous.

Expect to hear a lot more on this front.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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