Israeli Arabs Planning Attacks Arrested

Ad Feedback - AKKO, Israel - The Magistrates Court in the city of Akko has extended the remand of two Israeli Arabs arrested earlier this month for planning terror attacks.

The two men, both from the Israeli Arab town of Shfaram in the western Galilee, confessed to planning to assassinate Israeli pilots, scientists and university professors and to target Palestinians suspected of cooperating with Israel. They also admitted to planning an attack on an Israeli checkpoint near Ramallah.

The Shin Bet (General Security Agency) lifted a media gag order on their case Thursday.

Both are students at Arab universities. Anis Saffouri, 20, is majoring in communications at Ramallah's Bir Zeit University, and Hussam Khalil, 19, is an electronics engineering student in Jordan.

During interrogation, the two confessed to connections with Islamic Jihad headquarters in Syria and to raising money to purchase weapons and pay terror-related expenses, but later they denied the allegations.

Saffouri told investigators that when he moved to Ramallah in 2006, he established contacts with PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) members and with reporters from al-Manar, the satellite television station belonging to the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror organization.

After forming a terror cell with three Islamic Jihad members, Saffouri recruited Khalil because as a student at a Jordanian university, he could transfer funds from Jordan to Israel.

Saffouri and Khalil focused on fundraising, contacting Islamic Jihad headquarters in Syria. They managed to collect some weapons and were already trained for the planned attack at the checkpoint near Beit Zeit.

Khalil's father, Khaled, said the charges against his son were false.

"Everything released yesterday in the police statement was one big lie," he said.

"Yesterday they said that my son was allegedly involved in attempting to kill people, in weapons offenses, and today the suspicions were reduced to the offense of conspiring to contact a foreign agent. This is part of the government's policy to incite against the Arabs in Israel," he said.

Source: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post

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