It was the start of another busy week. At the always-busy Jaffa Street station for the city's iconic light rail service, a growing crowd waited. The next train was no more than five minutes out.
Scanning the cluster of boarders, a security guard spotted a Palestinian young man. He was carrying what the guard later called, a "suspicious looking bag." The young man was preparing to board the train.
According to freelance journalist Noga Tarnopolsky, the guard approached the man and, in Arabic, asked to see his bag. When he looked, he saw "three pipe bombs connected to a cellphone with wires. The guard started screaming bomb! bomb! bomb! and saved untold lives."
Within minutes, a large police force arrived at the scene. They included explosive experts called sappers. All public transport was shut down. Passengers on buses and trains calmly disembarked. The area was cordoned off and police sappers proceeded to neutralize the explosives.
The suspect, in his 20s, is in police custody.
The area was open for traffic several hours later. As light rail service resumed, Israelis boarded and continued on with life.
According to Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy, a security guard identified a suspicious individual at the light rail station in Jerusalem. He approached the young man and attempted to talk with him, but the latter didn’t respond. He opened the man's bag and discovered a large explosive device, consisting of several smaller devices. Initial findings revealed that the terrorist planned to target the light rail."
He also said the suspect was from the Palestinian village of Beit Ula, near Hebron, a few miles south of Jerusalem.
"We also found knives in his bag, so it looks like he planned a combined attack. The police continue to be ready for all scenarios."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat lauded the security guard's actions, saying his awareness prevented a major terrorist attack on the capital's light rail.
"The light rail's security guards are part of the broad human shield protecting Jerusalem against terrorism. We urge the public to remain alert and not let terrorism disrupt the daily routine."
He later tweeted, "today, we foiled a major #terror attack. #Jerusalem is strong and resilient - terror will not win. To our brave security forces - thank you."
This article is a blended effort by Brian Schrauger and Israel Hayom. The original Israel Hayom article was published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=35019