Israeli sources reported Thursday that two Israelis, including a 16-year-old school student, were injured when a mortar shell, fired from Gaza struck a school bus in a settlement adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The Israel Magen David Adom medical services reported that a 16-year-old boy suffered critical injuries while the bus driver was injured by a shrapnel in his leg.

A member of the Magen Adom said that the bus was destroyed due to the blast, and that the boy was lying on the ground while bleeding while the bus driver ‘was in a hysterical condition’, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported.

The medical services said that the was nearly empty when struck by the shell as the driver had already dropped off the students except the 16-year-old.

Haaretz added that the authorities instructed all residents to stay in their homes due to the possibility that further shells might be fired into the area.

The Israeli Army quickly retaliated to the attack by carrying out aerial and ground strikes against the Gaza strip killing a 50-year-old man and wounded several other residents.

The attack was order by Israel Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who instructed the army to carry a swift retaliation.

Barak also held the Hamas movement responsible for the attack.
Haaretz reported that at least 16 shells were fired at Israeli towns on Thursday, and that most of the shells hit open areas.

The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack.

The Brigades said that attack comes in retaliation to the assassination of three fighters who were killed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The United States denounced the attack as its State Department issued a statement expressing concern “about reports of an advanced anti-tank shell used in attacking civilians”, Israeli daily Ynet News reported.

The statement failed to mention the five Palestinians who were killed and the 40 residents who were injured in a number of Israeli strikes against the Gaza Strip on Thursday.