Terrorist attack foiled as Israel prepares for Independence Day celebrations

April 18 (UPI) — A large-scale terrorist attack was averted after an explosives-laden truck was detained at a West Bank checkpoint, Israel’s defense ministry said Wednesday.

The truck was stopped at the Reihan checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank. Inspectors found a “powerful explosive device” in the roof amid the cargo of goods destined for settlers along the border. The Palestinian driver was detained for questioning, the Ministry of Defense said in a Facebook post.

The explosive device was meant to mar celebrations of Israel’s 70th anniversary, which start Wednesday evening, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, without specifying a location or time for a potential detonation.

Much of the West Bank has been closed due to the Independence Day celebrations.

Erez Sidon, Defense Ministry border crossings chief, said that inspectors “acted exactly as we expect them to, from the identification of the suspicious truck to the identification of the attempted smuggling.”

Earlier Wednesday, a Palestinian man was arrested at the Qalandiya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, after police found him carrying a knife. Officials said he admitted that he had planned to carry out a stabbing attack, the Times of Israel reported.