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Car Bomb Tragedy Narrowly Averted at Haifa Mall

40 kg. of explosives found inside car at Cinemall in Haifa, after a small explosion alerted passersby who called security guards, police.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/21/2009, 11:54 PM

Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

Police sappers found and safely neutralized 40 kg. of explosives inside a car parked under the Haifa Cinemall (formerly Lev Hamifratz) Saturday night. The explosives had been packed into 14 black bags, loaded into a rucksack.

The car bomb was discovered by chance; passersby alerted security officers after a small explosion occurred inside the car. The security officers alerted police, who discovered the explosives.

Large police forces were called to the mall and all those in the building at the time, mostly shoppers and moviegoers, were immediately evacuated.

Police blocked vehicles on the main thoroughfare to and from the mall and traffic came to a halt. They also were looking for a possible second terrorist car, suspected to be traveling on Route Six.

Northern District Commander Shimon Koren said that “the background of the incident is almost certainly hostile terrorism. We see no signs of anything else.”

The car in which the explosives were found was registered to a woman who lives in eastern Jerusalem, police said.