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Security forces were trying to understand late Tuesday night why a Palestinian who succeeded in entering Israel with a large bomb wandered around the Dan region earlier that day but failed to detonate the deadly device.
In the early afternoon, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) received detailed intelligence that a bomber was planning to strike in the Tel Aviv area. It eventually emerged that he had planned to carry out his attack at the city's Central Bus Station.
Police and security forces raised their alert level, setting up roadblocks and conducting searches throughout the area.
The activity focused on southern Tel Aviv, and later on Bat Yam immediately to the south. There, police searched apartments until they discovered the would-be bomber together with his driver and a number of other suspects.
Police evacuated the building, concerned that the bomb was hidden on the premises, but discovered that there were no explosives in the second-floor apartment.
During the initial questioning, the terrorist, a resident of Jilaboun, near Jenin, said he left Jenin on Tuesday morning with a heavy bag of explosives. After wandering around the Dan area, he left the bag in a trash receptacle in Rishon Lezion, south of Bat Yam.
The terrorist then led a long convoy of police and security forces to Rishon Lezion, where sappers found the bag, as the would-be bomber described, in a dumpster.
The sappers safely detonated the bomb and police announced that more than two hours of high alert in the Tel Aviv region had ended.
Police said they still did not know why the man, a member of an Islamic Jihad cell based in Jenin, did not detonate the explosives. They speculated he may have decided at the last minute that he could not bring himself to carry out the attack, or that he simply did not find an acceptable target.
The Jenin cell he belongs to is believed to have been behind several prior terrorist attacks.