Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man, from the village of Taybeh in Israel, was connected to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups.
A Palestinian militant cell based in the West Bank village of Beit Lakiya sent the man to put a bomb connected to a mobile phone on the Tel Aviv bus Wednesday, Rosenfeld said.
After he planted the bomb, the man, who police declined to identify, left the bus and called his handlers, who remotely detonated the explosive by calling the phone, he said.
“He admitted to carrying out the terrorist attack,” Rosenfeld said.
Attacks by Israeli Arabs are rare, though they have happened in the past.
The attack brought back harsh memories of frequent bus bombings during last decade’s violent Palestinian uprising.
According to the Jerusalem Post the suspected washeld several hours after the device exploded, but the Shin Bet only revealed the information that he is under arrest on Thursday evening.