Palestinian With Truck Carrying Explosives for 'Independence Day Terror Attack' Arrested

Explosives found in truck trying to cross the West Bank's Reihan Crossing, cargo marked as 'intended for border communities'

Palestinian with truck carrying explosives for 'Independence Day terror attack' arrested at West Bank's Reihan Crossing. April 18, 2018
Defense Ministry

Security guards at a West Bank checkpoint found explosives in the truck of a Palestinian on Tuesday. Security officials said the driver was arrested on his way to an "Independence Day terror attack." 

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Until sunset Wednesday, Israel's marks its Memorial Day, followed by Independence Day in the evening, with nationwide celebrations all day Thursday.

Security guards said they found explosives during a routine search of a truck trying to cross the West Bank's Reihan Crossing. The explosives were described as "powerful," though no additional details were given.

Defense officials later said the suspected attack was likely to take place within Israel within the next few days. Police sappers dismantled the bomb and no one was hurt.

On Thursday, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, ordered the closure of the crossing in order to "clarify the circumstances of the incident."

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had praised the guards for their alertness and for "thwarting a large terror attack on Independence Day." He vowed to "hunt the bastards who planned this attack during our holiday. They will not sleep until we find them."

The explosives were found in the truck's roof, inside part of its AC system, and the truck was carrying cargo marked as "intended for border communities." The truck was carrying agricultural goods for rural communities in central Israel.

Security forces raided the driver's home as well as those of two other Palestinians. Officials said it was unclear if someone inside Israel was waiting for the truck or not.

The official in charge of border crossings at the Defense Ministry, Erez Tzidon, praised the guards for "identifying the suspect and the smuggling attempt which turned out to be an explosive, most likely intended for an Independence Day terror attack."