Bus bomb in Bat Yam
Bus bomb in Bat YamFlash 90

The driver of a bus which exploded in Bat Yam two weeks ago welcomed on Friday the arrests of the terrorists who planned the attack, but expressed concern that Israel might soon release them.

The explosion took place shortly after passengers noticed a suspicious object and reported it to the driver, Michael Yoger, who quickly removed all passengers from the bus.

A bomb squad officer was lightly wounded as he got on the bus to disarm the device, which exploded as he approached it. Because of the alert behavior by both passengers and Yoger, a much greater tragedy with many more casualties and even deaths was prevented.

On Thursday it was cleared for publication that 14 terrorists accused of being involved in the bombing, including members of the Islamic Jihad, a Bedouin Arab and a Palestinian Authority (PA) police officer, were arrested in a joint operation of the IDF, the Israel Police and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

"I was very happy to hear that they were caught, but they’ll probably be released in two weeks, because we are constantly releasing murderers," Yoger told Channel 2 News on Friday.

He noted that security forces risk their lives to locate and arrest terrorists, but their efforts are in vain, because soon after the suspects are placed on trial they are released.

"That diminishes the deterrent factor and it gives them a precedent for more attacks," stressed Yoger.

Just this week, Israel released 26 terrorist murderers from its prisons as a “gesture” to the PA.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas personally greeted 18 of the terrorists released by Israel to the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria, promising that "there will be no final agreement with Israel until all prisoners are released."

Yoger told Channel 2 that ever since the attack, he has been more alert and careful than in the past on security issues.

“I'm more alert and take a look at the passengers and what they are carrying in their hands as they get on and off the bus. Before I arrive at a stop I look around,” he said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)