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A terror alert that caused massive traffic jams throughout central Israel ended yesterday with the arrest of three Palestinians suspected of planning a terror attack in Tel Aviv.

Due to the alert, which lasted more than seven hours, checkpoints were set up at all the entrances to the city and policemen inspected every car seeking to enter. These precautions, which caused the traffic jams, stemmed from a Shin Bet security service warning that a West Bank resident was planning a mass-casualty attack in the city.

The Shin Bet received the warning shortly before dawn and promptly passed it on the police. Hundreds of policemen, aided by auxiliary forces from other security services, then began searching for the suspect, whose picture and other identifying details had been passed on by the Shin Bet.

Several Palestinians residing illegally in the city were arrested during the course of the hunt, but only at about 1 P.M. was the suspect finally found. He and his two Palestinian companions were arrested as they were walking down Wolfson Street in South Tel Aviv.

After a brief interrogation by Shin Bet agents, the three led the police to two apartments on a nearby street, where they apparently had been staying for the past few days. Police promptly closed off the area and summoned sappers, believing the apartments may contain explosives. However, no weaponry of any kind was found in the buildings.

Only then did the police remove the roadblocks, enabling traffic to begin flowing into the city normally again.

The suspects were handed over to the Shin Bet for further interrogation.