Israel says Arab citizens arrested in assassination plot

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-08 22:28:57|Editor: xuxin
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JERUSALEM, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Shin Bet security service said Thursday that it arrested seven Israeli-Arabs who planned, together with Hamas operatives from Gaza, to kill a high-ranking Israeli officer.

The suspects, residents of the Arab town Jaljulia in central Israel, were indicted at the Central District Court. According to the charges, some of them were involved in planning to murder an Israel Defense Forces officer, and the others were involved in illegal trade of weapons to facilitate the killing.

The killing was aimed to avenge the assassination of Mazen Faqha, a Hamas military commander, who was shot dead in the Gaza Strip on March 24.

On May 21, a court in Gaza convicted three local men in the assassination and sentenced them to death, although Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that runs Gaza, has blamed Israel for the incident.

According to the Shin Bet, the cell was exposed during an investigation of Mahmoud Muhammad Abdul Karim Daoud for weapons trafficking, which led the interrogators to two brothers, Adam Ismail Muhammad Faki, 25, a convicted felon, and Faras Ismail Muhammad Faki, 27, an alleged supporter of the Islamic State.

Adam Faki was recruited to Hamas in December 2014 during his visit to the Gaza Strip for a family wedding, and underwent military training including shooting, said a joint statement released by the Shin Bet and the police.

Adam Faki was then asked to advance a shooting attack in Israel, said the statement, adding that he was told to purchase weapons, select a target and recruit someone else to assist him in carrying out the attack.

The Shin Bet said that the incident "underscores how Hamas exploits Israel's humanitarian policy vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip, including the exploitation of family visits, medical treatment and commerce for terrorist purposes."

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Palestinian enclave since 2007, citing security concerns despite international humanitarian calls to ease the siege.

The incident also comes amidst a wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, which have claimed the lives of at least 246 Palestinians, 41 Israelis, two Jordanian tourists, two U.S. nationals, two refugees from Sudan and Eritrea, and a British tourist since mid-September 2015.