Israel: Authorities Arrests al-Qaida Terror Cell Planning Attacks on U.S. Embassy

Alleged terror attack on U.S. embassy thwarted.

A view of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013.
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Three men were arrested Wednesday in connection with an intended terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency said with the assistance of Jerusalem police they were able to unearth "a global jihad group from east Jerusalem which was operated from the Gaza Strip with the aim of carrying out major terror attacks in Israel."

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Shin Bet indicated that the cell was planning an additional attack on the Jerusalem Convention Center as well as kidnapping soldiers from a central Jerusalem bus station, Agence France-Presse reported.

Two of the suspects were in their late 20s and were purportedly recruited by al-Qaida over Facebook and Skype, Shin Bet indicated in a statement. They were expected to provide bomb vests to militants posing as Russian tourists. The other terrorist is in his early 30s and was planning to go to Syria for weapons training, AFP reported.

Though Israeli authorities would not disclose how far the militants were in carrying out the attacks, they did claim they attained computer files sent to the suspect, which gave directions on how to make explosives, CNN indicated.

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According to Israeli authorities two of the suspects were Palestinians from East Jerusalem, however Islamist Authorities in the Gaza strip say these accusations are "silly fabrications" to justify Israeli attacks on Palestinians, Reuters reported.

"We've been in contact with the Israeli government regarding these threats," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a press conference. "We're closely monitoring the situation."

 

Harf also said that while they believe the Israeli intel to be accurate, they are still awaiting "independent corroboration of some of those specifics."

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