Less than a day after a deadly terror attack was thwarted in Haifa's Lev HaMifratz shopping mall, it has become clear that the external parking lot was left unsecured, effectively enabling the terrorists to park their car bomb so close to the shopping center.
Saturday evening saw a local security patrol respond to a small explosion which occurred in a car parked near the mall. Upon inspecting the vehicle, the officers found it was rigged with what was later determined to be nearly 40 kilograms (90 pounds) of explosives. The mall and its surrounding area were evacuated immediately, as police sappers spent hours neutralizing the deadly devices.
"Nevertheless, once the shift's supervisor was alerted to the fact that a civilian reported hearing a small explosion near the mall, he immediately dispatched a security patrol to the area. The found the explosives and called the police, as our protocol dictates."
According to Aloni, the police are the ones who formulate any mall's security plans. "The mall then turns it over to us and we implement the specifications given to us. We are a little bolt in the machine. The Israel Police does not consult me before outlining a security plan. They set the guidelines as we follow them."
Not part of the plan. The exterior lot (Photo: Shai Vaaknin)
Sources in the police confirmed that the security outlined planned for Lev HaMifratz mall did not include the outer perimeter of the parking lot, but Ynet learned that the part of the exterior parking lot where the car was found, was no more that a few yards away from one of its entrances. Moreover, the car was parked above a section of the mall supported by columns.
Aloni was critical of the police Sunday, saying that "as a professional service provided, I would expect the police to consult us before deciding on a security plan. Any questions regarding the security (of the parking lot) should be referred to the police," he added.
G4S Security admits that they did have a guard post near the very spot where the car was found, "But the guards cannot be expected to inspect the cars and patrol the extended perimeter…. There are also numerous gaps in the perimeter. We can block all of them – it's simply a question of money. A business owner will not invest in that unless directed to do so by the police," concluded Aloni.
Following Saturday's event, the police ordered a high state of alert and heightened deployment across northern Israel.
Ahiya Raved contributed to this report