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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bomber Kills 6 on Tel Aviv Bus

TEL AVIV, Israel -- A suicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded bus in downtown Tel Aviv on Thursday, killing at least five other people and wounding 49 in the second such attack in two days.

The blast tore through the bus while it was driving on Allenby Street, in the heart of a teeming restaurant and business district. One witness said he saw several people lying on the floor of the bus, including one man whose legs had been blown off. "People were yelling, 'take us out of here,"' said the witness, Herzl Ben-Moshe.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though various Israeli media outlets reported conflicting claims by the militant Islamic Jihad and Hamas groups.

Hamas spokesman Ismail Abu Shanab said he expected to see "a series of operations against the Zionist enemy, as a result of the daily brutal crimes against our people," but stopped short of claiming responsibility.

Wednesday's attack, in which a suicide bomber blew himself at a bus stop in northern Israel and also killed an Israeli policeman, was claimed by Islamic Jihad. Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefly toured the scene of Thursday's bombings.

Israeli troops already occupy most Palestinian towns in the West Bank and confine hundreds of thousands of residents their to their homes daily to try to keep militants out of Israel.

However, troops lifted the curfew in the town of Jenin for several hours Tuesday for the first time in weeks and there was some speculation that the recent days' attackers may have come from the town, a hotbed of militants.

In the West Bank town of Ramallah, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy breaking curfew to buy cigarettes for his father was killed Thursday by shots a witness said were fired from an Israeli tank.

Thursday's explosion went off just after 1 p.m. outside one of the major synagogues in Tel Aviv and across the street from a Starbucks coffee shop.

The Palestinian Authority said it condemned attacks on all civilians, whether Israelis or Palestinians. The Tel Aviv attack is "totally against the [Palestinian] national interest, and it gives [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's government and his occupation army the pretext to continue killing, to continue the siege and to continue settlement activities," the statement said.

Before this week, there had been no suicide bombings in Israel since Aug. 4. In other developments Thursday, Israeli bulldozers razed the family homes of two Palestinian suicide bombers who blew themselves up on a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem on Dec. 1, killing 11 bystanders.