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Palestinians in Jerusalem Accused of Plotting with ISIS

Palestinians in Jerusalem Accused of Plotting with ISIS

Thursday, 5 December, 2019 - 10:30
Israeli border police members stand guard following an incident at Qalandia checkpoint in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 18, 2019. (Reuters)

Israeli police said Wednesday they had arrested two Arabs from eastern Jerusalem suspected of plotting with the ISIS group to attack Jerusalem.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that Ahmed Jaabis, 21, and Bassel Abidat, 19, were charged on Sunday with membership in ISIS.

He said they planned to carry out an attack in Jerusalem on Israeli independence day - which falls in April next year - when there are large public gatherings of Jews.

A police statement said "concrete intelligence" directed undercover officers disguised as Arabs to homes in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood Jerusalem where they arrested the men.

The raid took place in October but was only publicized on Wednesday.

"The accused are members of the ISIS terror organization," said the police statement, quoting from the charge sheet.

"The accused discussed the possibility of carrying out murderous terror attacks at various sites in the city of Jerusalem or at army bases in the Jordan Valley area with the aim of killing as many Jews as possible in the name of ISIS," it added.

They allegedly discussed acquiring firearms or, if that could not be done, of carrying out stabbings.

Abidat was accused of trying to join ISIS forces in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula but the police said he was prevented from crossing the Jordan-Egypt border by Jordanian frontier guards.

Dozens of suspects, mostly Israeli Arabs, have been arrested in recent years for allegedly fighting for extremist organizations abroad or for involvement in activities inspired by such groups.

Israeli Arabs are the descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land when Israel was founded in 1948, representing about 17.5% of nearly 9 million Israelis. Most Palestinians in Jerusalem hold a residency card.

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