JERUSALEM: Israeli police said Wednesday they had arrested two Palestinians from east Jerusalem suspected of plotting with the Islamic State group to attack Israelis in the Holy City.
A police statement said “concrete intelligence” directed undercover officers disguised as Arabs to homes in the Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem where they arrested the men.
The raid took place in October but was only publicised on Wednesday.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that Ahmed Jaabis, 21, and Bassel Abidat, 19, were charged on Sunday with membership in IS.
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.
“The accused are members of the IS terror organisation,” 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 IS,” 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 IS 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 jihadist organisations abroad or for involvement in activities inspired by such groups.