Security forces were conducting a widespread search Monday in Tel Aviv for a man who called a police hotline and claimed that he intended to commit a terror attack in the city.
The call, which came on the heels of two terror attacks in Jerusalem, heightened tensions in the city as police scrambled to find the caller, bringing activity in some parts of Tel Aviv to a standstill.
Police said later Monday that the threat had passed.
In the call, the man, who identified himself as a resident of Hebron, told a police operator that he was carrying explosives and had originally planned to set the bombs off in Tel Aviv. The man went on to explain that he had changed his mind and wanted to give himself in to police, but added, in Arabic, that he was unsure of his exact location. The phone call was then disconnected.
Police were investigating whether the phone call was genuine, and urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
A police spokesman told The Times of Israel that police had heightened security all throughout Tel Aviv and had raised the alert level in the city.
A large police force was later dispatched to the city center and began to perform door-to-door searches, Walla reported. Several roadblocks were put up in the city as well.
A recording, claiming to be the call, was uploaded to social media Monday. A police spokesman said he could not confirm its authenticity.
Major traffic jams were reported in and around Tel Aviv as police set up roadblocks to try to find the suspect.
Earlier Monday, a motorcycle rider shot and seriously injured a soldier in East Jerusalem, hours after a tractor driver rammed a bus in the capital, in apparent twin terror attacks, police said.
The shooting took place on Hanadiv Street, which separates the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz from the Hebrew University. The soldier, 20, was rushed to nearby Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus, where he was listed in serious condition.
Security forces chased the gunman, who had reportedly escaped into Wadi al-Joz. A security guard opened fire on the gunman, police said.
Several hours earlier, a driver of an excavator ran over a pedestrian and overturned a bus on the city’s Shmuel Hanavi Street, killing one person and injuring six. The driver, identified as 19-year-old Muhammed Naif el-Ja’abis, was shot and killed by police who ran to the scene.
Ja’abis was a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. The family of Ja’abis argued that the suspected attack was actually a car accident, and that Ja’abis was shot by police in cold blood. Security officials asserted that the excavator driver’s assault may have been a revenge attack, as the man’s cousin had had his house in East Jerusalem demolished two weeks ago.
Ja’abis is known to police from a previous, unspecified, security-related matter, Channel 2 reported.