TEL AVIV, Israel -- A bomb blast ripped through an Israeli bus near the nation's military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding 10 people and complicating a major diplomatic push to forge a truce between Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas rulers.
The attack came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton shuttled between Jerusalem, the West Bank and Egypt to help piece together a deal to end Israel's weeklong offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 130 Palestinians. Militant rocket fire into Israel has killed five Israelis.
Hours after the blast, Clinton arrived in Cairo and entered talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who has been taking the lead in mediating between Israel and Hamas.
The blast, which left the bus charred and its windows blown out, was the first bombing in Tel Aviv since 2006. It appeared aimed at sparking Israeli fears of a return to the violence of the Palestinian uprising last decade, which killed more than 1,000 Israelis in bombings and shooting attacks and left more than 5,000 Palestinians dead as well.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, who heard the explosion from his Tel Aviv office, called it "an escalation."
"What does it say about the future of the (truce) talks? I leave it to (the senior officials), but this doesn't add anything," Yitzhak Aharonovich, Israel's minister of internal security, told Army Radio.
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," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told The Associated Press.
The bombing came after a night of more than 30 Israeli airstrikes over Gaza that hit government ministries, smuggling tunnels, a banker's empty villa and a Hamas-linked media office.
Medics said a child was killed in one airstrike, raising the Palestinian death toll to at least 140, dozens of them civilians. More than 1,100 were wounded. Five Israelis have also been killed by Palestinian rocket fire, which continued early Wednesday with dozens of rockets.
Thousands of Israeli ground troops were massed on the Gaza border, awaiting a possible order to invade.
The Tel Aviv bus attack took place around noon on one of the coastal city's busiest arteries, near the Tel Aviv museum, the district courthouse and across from an entrance to Israel's national defense headquarters.
The blast was from a device placed inside the bus by a man who then got off, Aharanovich said. The explosion took place while the bus was moving, he said.
Blood splattered the sidewalk at the site of the explosion, with glass scattered around.
"We suddenly heard a huge explosion and immediately knew it was a terror attack," said Nir Zano, 35. "I saw someone running in to carry out a woman who was injured."
Police set up roadblocks across the city trying to apprehend the attacker.
"We strongly believe that this was a terror attack," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. He said three of the 10 wounded were moderately to seriously hurt.
In Gaza, the bombing was praised from mosque loudspeakers, while Hamas' television station interviewed people praising the attack as a return of militants' trademark tactics.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "deeply concerned" by the bombing.
"This shocking violence further underlines the urgent need for an immediate de-escalation of violence and a full ceasefire," Hague said in a statement.