Israeli soldiers arrested a man with explosives strapped to his body in the West Bank on Friday, thwarting what might have been the first suicide bombing in the area in years, army officials said.
The suspect, who raised suspicion by wearing a heavy coat despite hot weather, was stopped while approaching a checkpoint in the Nablus area, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an army spokesman.
Soldiers found that the man had explosives strapped around his torso. He told the soldiers that he had planned to activate the explosives, officials said.
Lerner told reporters it wasn’t immediately clear where or when the man intended to detonate the explosives. It was also unknown whether he was acting alone or as part of a militant group.
Army authorities described the suspect only as a Palestinian in his early 20s from the Nablus area. He was taken for questioning by Israeli security.
The explosives were removed and later detonated by a military bomb disposal unit, officials said.
Local news reports said a search was underway for several people who may have helped the man, who arrived at the site by taxi.
Tension has increased in recent months with the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Sobelman is a special correspondent.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times