The sappers found a partially exploded bomb in the trunk of a white Subaru car which was parked outside the shopping center, and registered to a woman who lives in Jerusalem. A further search of the vehicle uncovered several more unexploded bombs, containing dozens of kilograms of explosive material, which were neutralized by the sappers.
"We believe this is a terrorist incident," a police statement said.
Police immediately moved to evacuate the mall, which was filled with shoppers at the time, and sealed off the area. A major traffic route adjacent to the mall was also closed off to traffic, as police went on high alert across the Haifa area.On the ground, roadblocks sprang up and police presence was increased in crowded areas. It was not immediately clear how the vehicle managed to get past security checks at the entrance to the mall.
UPDATE: The car-bombers apparently managed to evade mall security by using an adjacent parking area:
Coastal Police chief Lt.-Cmdr. Roni Atiya addressed concerns regarding the perpetrators success at planting a bomb so close to the crowded mall. "It's important to stress that this is an outdoor parking lot and not one of the mall's underground or multi-story parking lots, so this is a car that didn't go through a security check and therefore the bomb wasn't found in due time. This was a big charge that could have caused a lot of damage to person and property.This incident proves, once again, that the appearance of quiet for Israel does not mean there is peace. Terrorists continually are plotting to murder Israeli civilians, and it is only through vigilance and sometimes luck, that these plots are foiled.