TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) - Amid diplomatic efforts to forge a truce, the violence between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers has taken on a new dimension Wednesday.
A bomb exploded aboard a bus near the Israeli military's headquarters in Tel Aviv, wounding 27 people. The blast is the first bombing in Israel's commercial and cultural center since 2006. A tiny militant group has claimed responsibility, but Hamas calls it "a natural response" to Israeli attacks that have killed 144 Palestinians in the past week.
Palestinian rocket fire has killed five Israelis in that time and is continuing today.
Israel carried out 30 airstrikes on Gaza overnight. Targets included government ministries, smuggling tunnels, a banker's empty villa and a Hamas-linked media office.
Meanwhile, some 10,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in Gaza for the shelter of a dozen U.N.-run schools after Israel dropped leaflets urging residents to clear out of certain neighborhoods to avoid being hit by airstrikes.
On the diplomatic front, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been shuttling across the region in truce talks. She met with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi today in Cairo. He's been mediating between Israel and Hamas.