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Border Police officers stopped a suspected potential terrorist attack on Sunday, by arresting a man at a West Bank junction they said was carrying an explosive device in his car.
The Border Police said midday on Sunday that the man pulled up to a checkpoint near Betar Illit in the West Bank and almost instantly the officers found something suspicious.
They asked the man, who apparently was wearing a wig, large sunglasses, and acting “in a strange manner” to stop the car, but he refused.
One of the officers then reached inside to grab the keys from the ignition, at which point the man stepped on the gas and started driving off, while the officer was still hanging halfway out the window, according to the Border Police.
The officer, however, managed to pull his gun and cock it, ordering the man to stop, at which point he managed to pull the man out of the car and they rolled to the side of the road.
The man was arrested and handed over to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning. Inside his car officers found pipe bombs, gas canisters, explosives and a detonator, according to a statement put out by the IDF after the incident. The officer who arrested the man said the back seats of the car had been removed and the entire area was full of gas canisters rigged with electric wires.
The incident caused massive gridlock as police shut down traffic in both directions from the junction in order to send in sappers to handle the explosives.
As of press time it was unclear where the man was taking the explosives, though one working assumption is that they were meant to be used for a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
The officer who stopped the suspected bomber, Insp.
Yeshurun Tzoran, described how he and the other officers in his region have been instructed to be on high alert during the IDF operation in Gaza, due to the assessment that terrorist groups will try to carry out an attack in Israel.
Therefore they set up the temporary checkpoint and began stopping cars.
On Sunday afternoon, Tzoran said he “couldn’t feel better. We feel that we saved many lives in Israel, and this is our duty.”
Israel Police Insp.-Gen.
Yohanan Danino spoke to Tzoran on Sunday, and afterward put out a statement saying that he and his fellow Border Police officers at the checkpoint “acted heroically” and saved lives.
After the incident, Judea and Samaria Police secured a gag order on the case, which is in the hands of the Shin Bet.
On July 10, Defense Ministry security guards stopped a Palestinian car with two passengers carrying a bomb on Highway 5 at a checkpoint near the Sha’ar Shomron junction close to the town of Oranit, northeast of Tel Aviv. The car, with Palestinian plates, was stopped after it “drew the suspicion of security guards,” according to police. Like in the incident on Sunday, the security guards found a gas canister that had been rigged as an explosive device.
Both suspects were taken into the custody of the Shin Bet.
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