One Killed, Dozens Hurt in J'lem Bombing; Be'er Sheva Hit by Two Missiles From Gaza

Several senior ministers called for a harsh retaliation for the attacks, though analysts believe a wide military operation is unlikely.

A woman was killed and more than 30 people injured, three of them seriously, when a bomb exploded yesterday at a crowded Jerusalem bus stop near the city's central bus station yesterday. The afternoon terror attack came on the heels of a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza into the south of the country, injuring five.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would act "assertively, responsibly and intelligently to preserve the quiet and security of the south in the past two years," before taking off for a state visit to Moscow.

Running for shelter in Be'er Sheva - AFP - March 23, 2011

The Jerusalem blast occured at about 3 P.M. The fatality, a foreign citizen in her late 50s, died en route to the hospital.

The owner of a nearby kiosk was seriously hurt and a yeshiva student of about 18 was moderately injured. Twenty-three others, mostly passengers on the number 74 bus, were lightly hurt by shrapnel.

Earlier in the day two Grad rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Be'er Sheva along with at least 13 mortars on Israeli communities near the Strip as tensions in the south escalated.

The first Grad was fired at 5:30 A.M. Nahum Norber, 57, who was in his third-floor apartment, was hit in the chest by shrapnel and was taken to the hospital. Four others were lightly injured.

The second Grad fell four hours later in an open area in the city, causing no injuries.

Seven mortars fell in the area of the Eshkol Regional Council and later another mortar fell in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. In the evening, five more mortars fell in open areas in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. No injuries were reported.

"We will not stand for strikes on Israeli citizens, either in the south or in Jerusalem," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

Several senior ministers called yesterday for a harsh retaliation for the attacks, though analysts believe a wide military operation is unlikely.

"Ever since the establishment of this government, we have set forth a clear policy of a strong response to any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and of strong preemptive measures against terrorism," Netanyahu said. "There are some who are violating the quiet and are trying to test our endurance. They will find the government and the people of Israel have an iron will to protect the country."