President Obama condemned a bus bombing that wounded 22 in Tel Aviv Wednesday, wasting no time in calling it a “terrorist attack” and pledging to provide Israel with “whatever assistance is needed” to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The bus bombing occurred just hours after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Cairo and threatened to derail her diplomatic efforts to forge a truce between Israel and Gaza rulers of Hamas.
Mrs. Clinton plans to meet with Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi Wednesday to try to negotiate an end to the the back-and-forth assaults, which have killed 130 Palestinians and five Israelis. She met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before heading to Cairo.
Mr. Obama, who arrived back in Washington early Wednesday from a three-day trip to Asia, stood squarely behind Israel in denouncing the bus bombing.
“The United States condemns today’s terrorist attack on a bus in Tel Aviv,” he said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those injured, and with the people of Israel. These attacks against innocent Israeli civilians are outrageous.”
“The United States will stand with our Israeli allies and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack,” he continued. “The United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.”
Mrs. Clinton’s push for a cease-fire come as thousands of Israeli troops amassed on the Gaza border, ready to invade the restive Palestinian enclave.
In Tel Aviv, the bus exploded near the Defense Ministry and military headquarters.
Before Mr. Obama’s statement on went out, Mrs. Clinton had called the bus bombing a “terrorist attack” and said the U.S. “strongly condemns” it.