Israel Nabs Would-be Suicide Bomber Primed For Attack

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:11 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - An alert bus driver traveling just outside of Jerusalem averted what could have been a terrorist disaster when he alerted police to a suspicious passenger on his bus on Wednesday. Meanwhile, soldiers in a different area discovered missiles in the process of being smuggled in the West Bank for the first time.

Israeli security forces have been on high alert against the possibility of terror attacks and have warned Israelis to expect attacks like they haven't seen previously.

According to police spokesman Gil Kleiman, the driver of an inter-city bus from Jerusalem to nearby Ma'aleh Adumim became suspicious of one of his passengers and stopped at a roadblock to report it to police.

When the police boarded the bus to investigate, the Palestinian terrorist, girded with an explosive belt and apparently primed for action, attacked the officers. Police subdued him with the help of civilians, at which point they discovered the explosives.

The man was arrested and the explosive device neutralized by police sappers, Kleiman said.

Deputy Police Commissioner in Jerusalem Ilan Franco said on a radio interview that police are on alert to prevent attacks following general warnings of planned terrorist actions.

In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers discovered missile launchers and multiple Qassam missiles hidden in a truckload of fruits and vegetables, according to initial reports.

The weapons, discovered north of Nablus in an area under PA control, marked the first time that the Qassam rockets had been found in the West Bank. The Qassam rockets, developed by Hamas, have been used against Israeli targets in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli security officials have warned that should the rockets be used from the West Bank, they could pose a threat to Israeli cities and major population centers.

The discovery followed a claim Tuesday from Al Aksa Brigade of Arafat's Fatah faction that it had fired the Aksa 1 and Aksa 2 rockets at settlements in the Gaza Strip.

The announcement made on Hizballah's Al-Manar television station in Lebanon, marked the first time that the group has claimed responsibility for such an attack.

Footage showed the two rockets being fired from an undisclosed location and claimed that Aksa 2 had a range of 15 kilometers.

Israeli military sources were said to be skeptical about the claim, but if it is true the rockets are believed to be another version of Hamas' Qassam 1 and 2 rockets.

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