comment by Jerry Gordon
Israel’s domestic intelligence arm, Shin Bet made arrests of six suspects endeavoring to set up an Al Qaeda cell for the purpose of plotting to take down President Bush’s helicopter when he was in Jerusalem this past May for the celebration of Israel’s 60th. This may explain why Bush took a road trip to Ramallah in the West bank to visit with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. This arrest follows a previous one of two Bedouins who were trying to set up an Al Qaeda attack group. I noticed that the one of suspects arrested used his cell phone to take pictures of possible landing areas. Another suspect queried Al Qaeda web sites seeking training on how to take down a helicopter. The Reuters account doesn’t state whether the suspects in this plot to attack President Bush’s helicopter were West Bank Palestinians or Israeli Arabs. If the latter, there are over 50,000 Hamas sympathizers in an extremist group, the Northern Branch of the so-called Islamic Movement. That is a large enough contingent to constitute a veritable fifth column inside Israel. Shin Bet must have lots to do to keep these Jihadi wannabes under constant surveillance inside the Jewish state.
Reuters, July 18, 2008
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel accused six Arabs on Friday of trying to set up an al Qaeda cell in Israel and said one of them had proposed attacking helicopters used during a visit by President George W. Bush.
Israel’s Shin Bet counter-intelligence agency said one of the suspects had used his mobile phone to film helicopters at a sports stadium in Jerusalem that was used as a landing site for Bush’s delegation.
The suspect then posted queries on Web sites frequented by al Qaeda operatives, asking for guidance on how to shoot down the helicopters, the agency said in a statement.
Bush visited Israel in January and again in May.
Lawyers for the six suspects could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Shin Bet identified four of the suspects as Palestinian residents of Arab East Jerusalem and two as Israeli Arabs.
The Shin Bet said the men had met several times at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, seeking to organize a local al Qaeda network. The agency said computers seized from several of the suspects contained bomb-making manuals.
Earlier this month, Israel indicted two of its Bedouin Arab citizens for links to al Qaeda and for planning attacks inside the Jewish state.