Text size

Two men from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah were indicted yesterday for planning to fly an explosive-packed model airplane into an army base near their home.

The indictment, issued by the Jerusalem District Court against Iyad Abid, 20, and Abdullah Abid, 21, states that they tried out the model airplane over the base, where it crashed. The indictment also states that the pair were planning to slam a tractor into an army jeep and abduct the soldiers in the jeep along with their weapons, to bargain for the release of members of Iyad Abid's family who are serving life sentences in Israel.

According to the charges, the men had already obtained two bayonets and two clubs, an electric stun device, a tear-gas pistol, two face masks and two pairs of gloves. They also tried to purchase an M-16 machine gun and a pistol.

Over the past two years the Shin Bet security service has arrested suspects who had gone only as far as discussing theoretical possibilities for an attack, or who had tried to collect information over the Internet. However in this case, the plan to kidnap Border Police and obtain a revolver was already formulated, and first tests had also been made.

The two were also charged with planning to throw Molotov cocktails at soldiers and shoot at the army base near Isawiyah, using weapons they would grab from soldiers. Iyad Abid had prepared a Molotov cocktail to show Abdullah how it works, but it failed to ignite.

The two were also charged with setting fire to the car of a man they suspected had gotten a member of Abdullah's family hooked on drugs. They are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, arson, setting fire to state property and disrupting elections by attempts to torch polling stations during the recent Jerusalem elections.

The idea of terror by model airplane is not new. Four years ago, six members of the military wing of Hamas were killed in an explosion after they had obtained a motorized model airplane through the mail and were testing it.

They had intended to use the aircraft to strike one of the settlements in pre-disengagement Gush Katif.

Hamas sources said at the time they believed Israel had booby-trapped the aircraft.