Israeli police secure the US embassy in Tel Aviv after one of the guards at the embassy was attacked and wounded with a knife and an ax on November 20, 2012. (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM (USA TODAY) - Israel's internal security agency said Wednesday it
arrested three Palestinians for allegedly planning to blow up the U.S.
Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem International Convention Center and
The Shin Bet intelligence agency said the three
men, two from Jerusalem and one from the West Bank, were recruited by a
Gaza-based operator working on behalf of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri.
Aviv Oreg, an Israeli expert on al-Qaeda and Global Jihad, called the thwarted attack "very serious."
appears that this is the first time since 2001, when the so-called Shoe
Bomber came to Israel to conduct reconnaissance for a possible attack,
that hard-core al-Qaeda elements are involved within Israel."
security agency said one of the arrested recruits revealed that he was
in the initial stages of planning twin terror attacks at the embassy and
convention center, where U.S. President Obama spoke during his March
2013 visit to Israel.
The recruit said he was planning to travel
to Syria to plan the attacks with other al-Qaeda-affiliated operatives
who would attempt to enter Israel with fake Russian IDs.
called for two suicide bombers to blow themselves up at the embassy's
entrance. At the same time in Jerusalem, terrorists planned to detonate a
large bomb at the entrance to the convention center as people were
entering, and another when first responders arrived.
Oreg said Israel would be particularly disturbed by the role of the Syrian-backed jihadists in the alleged plot.
seems that the three recruitees were about to go to Syria, where they
would have been trained to construct explosive mobile devices and would
be joined, on their return, by foreigners, who are attracted to the
Syrian jihadi arena," Oreg said. "This isn't a lone wolf. We know what
al-Qaeda is capable of, so this is a big development."
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