VIDEO - A suicide bombing in central Israel was narrowly avoided on Tuesday say security forces after the Palestinian man and his accomplices were arrested and the explosives uncovered.
Police and security forces operated extensively to thwart the attack throughout Tuesday afternoon and evening following intelligence information of a terrorist who had already infiltrated into Israel and was planning to carry out a bombing in Israel's coastal plain.
|Police forces searching for bomber (Video: Yaron Brener)|
The Tel Aviv District Police declared a heightened state of alert and roadblocks were set up in and around the cities in the region. Detailed Shin-Bet intelligence information led forces to an apartment in the city of Bat Yam, located south of Tel Aviv, where the cell was hiding.
Forces raided the apartment, capturing the bomber and several accomplices. While the men were being questioned the building was evacuated and police sappers combed the apartment for explosives but none were found.
The would-be bomber told interrogators that he had arrived in Rishon LeZion in the early afternoon with the explosive device concealed in a backpack – which he says he intended to detonate inside Tel Aviv - but for reasons that still remain unclear he decided to dump the backpack into a garbage dumpster and head back to Bat Yam, where his accomplices were waiting in the apartment.
Investigators are now trying to determine whether he changed his mind about committing suicide at the last second or if the bomb was faulty.
Police forces searching for bomber (Photo: Ofer Amram)
After his arrest the terrorist was led back to Rishon LeZion, accompanied by numerous police officers and investigators. The procession went from street to street until finally the dumpster he threw the backpack into was identified.
A police sapper is currently trying to dismantle the explosive device found in Rishon LeZion, after the police robot was unable to do so.
The would-be suicide bomber is a Palestinian resident of the village of Jalbun, located northeast of Jenin in the northern West Bank. The man is a member of the Islamic Jihad and part of a cell which has carried out a string of terror attacks, acting on Syrian orders.
This morning he left from Jenin and intelligence information alerted security forces to his intentions. The bomb he intended to detonate is confirmed to have been wired with a large amount of explosives. The Shin Bet is currently questioning all those arrested in connection to the attempted attack.
At present time security forces report eight specific terror alerts, half of which originate from terror groups in the northern West Bank.
Tel Aviv District Police Chief David Zur told Ynet in the early evening: "The situation is currently under control. We've dismantled the roadblocks and we're continuing to operate in the area. We ask the public to remain alert and refrain from visiting the closed off areas but may go on with their daily routine."
Eli Senyor and Efrat Weiss contributed to this report