Al-Qaeda terror cell arrested by Shin Bet after planning to attack Jerusalem’s International Conference Center, US Embassy in Tel Aviv. Shin Bet claims this is most serious al-Qaeda cell in Israel yet
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has cleared for publication that the Shin Bet has recently arrested three Palestinians, the most senior of which from east Jerusalem and the other two from the West Bank, and that the three were actively involved in planning at least two major terror attacks, including a suicide attack and truck bombing.
(R) Abu Najma, Aanam and Abu Sarah
According to suspicions, the cell was planning to undertake a complex set of terror attacks on the orders of a Gaza-based operator who is directly affiliated with al-Qaeda and answers directly to Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri.
The Shin Bet investigation revealed that about four months ago, the Gaza operator, who works under the Salafist alias Arib a-Shaham, enlisted the three: Iyad Abu Sarah, 24-year-old from east Jerusalem, Rubin Abi Najma, 30-year-old from Nablus and Ala Aanam, 22, from a village not far from Jenin.
The Shin Bet believes that their enlistment and deployment was conducted over the internet via Skype and Facebook, without anyone of the three knowing about the other’s existence or their orders.
According to the Shin Bet, Abu Sarah admitted during interrogation to receiving instructions to carry out a large-scale terror attack and he also said he had begun learning the tenets of Salafism. His father apparently noticed his son’s new-found interest in radical Islam and attempted to dissuade him. Abu Sarah also donated funds to support the transfer of radical forces to al-Qaeda in Syria.