Possible Jerusalem attack thwarted: Two pipe bombs found at Herod's Gate

Police report that two suspects in their 40s have been arrested; sappers neutralize devices.

Police at a security barricade in the Old City of Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Police at a security barricade in the Old City of Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Two Arab food vendors working outside the Old City’s Herod’s Gate were arrested by police on Wednesday morning after a routine search uncovered two pipe bombs and a cache of bullets hidden in their kiosks.
Herod’s Gate, located on the Old City’s northern wall, is near Damascus Gate, where several deadly terrorist attacks and attempted attacks have taken place since the beginning of October.
“We were searching different vendors in the area for suspicious activity and two guys in their 40s had two pipe bombs and a number of bullets hidden among boxes in their kiosks,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. “Both men are residents of east Jerusalem and were arrested immediately and questioned, as police cordoned off the area to search for other possible weapons. Sappers came to the scene within minutes to gather the explosives and detonate them a safe distance away.”
Rosenfeld said an investigation has been opened to determine if the suspects planned to carry out an attack independently, or were selling the weapons to terrorists for profit.
After a bloody attack in front of Damascus Gate earlier this month, which took the life of 19-year-old Border Police Cpl. Hadar Cohen, sappers were able to safely detonate two pipe bombs used by the terrorists that malfunctioned.
Meanwhile, in December, police arrested two Palestinian men hiding an arsenal of illegal weapons, including a submachine gun, pipe bombs and stun grenades, in an east Jerusalem falafel stand near the site of Wednesday’s arrest.
Rosenfeld said the arrests are part of an ongoing, intensive operation to prevent terrorists from procuring weapons to carry out attacks in the capital.