TEL AVIV - The four Palestinians apprehended Saturday night by security forces in the Tel Aviv area are apparently illegal workers.
Initially the four were thought to be terrorists attempting to carry out an attack on Pesach eve; consequently, security forces set up roadblocks along key traffic arteries that resulted in major traffic jams throughout central Israel, and thousands of people returning from the Pesach seder were stuck in their cars for several hours.
Israel Police sources told Ynet the four had been transferred to Shin Bet custody, but Shin Bet sources, in turn, have denied the claim.
Police sources added the four Palestinians apparently have nothing to do with the warning received regarding a possible terror attack on an Israeli target in the area.
Due to the warning, parts of Highway 4, the old Tel Aviv-Haifa road, were closed down for more than four hours.
Police sources claim that following the arrest of the four Palestinians the high state of alert in the region was downgraded, but Shin Bet sources contend the alert’s downgrading was unrelated to the arrests.
'It's a fiasco'
The unexpected traffic jams led to a number of medical emergencies as well.
Gil Moscowitz of Magen David Adom emergency services told Ynet “We were summoned to ten (medical) incidents along Highway 4 (Tel Aviv-Haifa); we treated a pregnant woman in labor and a diabetic seven-year-old girl whose blood sugar level had dropped.”
The long traffic jams had also triggered confusion and anger among drivers who found themselves stuck in their cars for several hours straight.
Lior Porat of Kfar Saba said he and his six-month-old baby girl were stuck in their car for hours without any food.
“It's simply a fiasco,” he said. “Major junctions cannot be blocked on the eve of the holiday without directing traffic to alternate routes.”
A full closure on the West Bank was imposed early Friday; it is expected to remain in effect until the end of the Pesach holiday.
During the holiday the entrance of Palestinians into the country would be permitted only in humanitarian-related cases.
The government decided to impose the closure in accordance with the IDF's assessment of the security situation on the eve of the holiday.
The Erez Crossing, through which some 4,500 Palestinian workers enter Israel from Gaza every day, will remain open.
Despite the relative calm, thousands of police officers, border police, civil guard volunteers and the IDF are taking part in a wide-ranging operation to secure public celebrations and holiday goers celebrating Pesach around Israel.