Bomb goes off in Tel Aviv, Israel Radio reports many casualties

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A bomb went off in Tel Aviv Wednesday night, police said, and Israel Radio said there were dozens of casualties. Police said the blast was a terror attack.

The bomb exploded on Neve Shaanan street in the southern part of the downtown area of Tel Aviv, near the old central bus station.

Ambulances and police raced to the scene and closed off the area. It was not immediately clear whether it was a suicide bombing attack.

The neighborhood -- which is a gathering point for recent immigrants to Israel -- is crowded with small shops and stalls. Israel Radio reported the explosion occurred at the entrance to the Central Theater, near a cafe.

An Israel Radio reporter at the scene said he saw the bodies of victims lying on the street.

On Tuesday, Palestinians killed eight Israelis in an attack on a bus near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank -- the first deadly assault on Israeli civilians in nearly a month. In that period, 44 Palestinians were killed.

An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian died Wednesday during a gunbattle that broke out as the Israeli military searched for the militants who attacked the bus.

In more than 21 months of fighting, 1,759 people have been killed on the Palestinian side, and 574 on the Israeli side.