January 22, 2014
Israel: Al-Qaida Plot Targeting US Embassy Foiled
Israel says it has arrested two Palestinians in annexed East Jerusalem who were allegedly planning a series of bombings on behalf of al-Qaida that included the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.
The Shin Bet intelligence agency said a third suspect from the West Bank town of Jenin was taken into custody on suspicion of planning to set up an al-Qaida cell in the northern West Bank.
Shin Bet said other targets included Jerusalem's international convention center and the kidnappings of Israeli soldiers. It said the plot was in its advanced planning stages, and said the trio -- arrested in recent weeks -- was allegedly recruited online from the Gaza Strip through Facebook and the Internet service Skype.
The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it has conferred with Israeli authorities on the alleged plots, but spokeswoman Marie Harf did not provide further details.
A spokesman for the militant Palestinian group Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, dismissed the Israeli claims. He told Reuters news agency that "Facebook is not a Hamas network." He also accused Israel of using the alleged plots as a pretext for its recent attacks in Gaza.
Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 war. Neither its annexation of East Jerusalem nor the occupation of the West bank is recognized abroad. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.