"Police presence was increased in crowded areas. We instructed security officers and guards at various centers to be more alert and instigate more thorough searches," one police officer told Ynet.
"It's probable that there will be checkpoints at the entrance to cities as this is part of a heightened alert. We ask the public to demonstrate greater awareness and patience," he said.
Scene of the attempted attack (Photo: Shai Vaknin)
Police and Shin Bet investigators are trying to determine how a car with 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of explosives was able to get into a mall parking lot in Haifa.
So far, police have discovered that the booby-trapped vehicle belongs to a resident of Jerusalem, apparently Jewish, who appears uninvolved in the incident although she did not report her car stolen or missing.
"There could be many reasons that the car is written in her name, such as a false license… The matter is being investigated, primarily by the Shin Bet," said a police source.
Meanwhile, police sappers neutralized the bomb. After forces combed the areas in and near the Lev HaMifratz shopping mall in Haifa, where the bomb was placed, police officials authorized the mall to reopen.
Lev HaMifratz is one of the largest malls in Israel's north and is located close to a main thoroughfare. It contains a train terminal and a medical center. Haifa's main bus station is adjacent to the complex. The mall's director-general, Benny Halif, said that Sundays are one of its busiest days.
"Given the bustle of activity in the mall and the proximity of the train station and the medical center, we are thankful that this incident ended the way it did," he said.
He added that, four months ago, he had undertaken a project for increased security of the complex and said that "he thinks the efforts have proven themselves. It seems that someone saw that there were security checks for the underground parking lot and therefore parked in the outdoor parking lot," he said.