Washington: The United States on Thursday denounced an attack in southern Israel after Hamas claimed responsibility for firing an anti-tank missile at a school bus, critically injuring a teenager.
"We condemn the attack on innocent civilians in southern Israel in the strongest possible terms as well as ongoing rocket fire from Gaza," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
"We have reiterated many times there is no justification of the targeting of innocent civilians and those responsible for these terrorist acts should be held accountable," Toner said.
"We are particularly concerned about reports that indicate the use of an advanced anti-tank weapon in an attack against civilians," he said.
He added the United States "reiterate that all countries have obligations under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition," said Toner.
After the missile slammed into the bus, the Palestinians lobbed at least 45 mortar rounds into southern Israel, and the Israeli army responded by staging multiple raids across the enclave, reportedly killing three people.
The Israeli medical services said a 16-year-old boy was critically wounded in the bus attack, while the driver sustained only light injuries. It was the first time an anti-tank missile had hit a civilian target in Israel.
"Any attack on innocent civilians is abhorrent but certainly the nature of the attack is particularly so," Toner said when asked to comment on the fact the school bus appeared to have been targeted.