Three residents of the Israeli-Arab city of Umm al-Fahm were arrested over the past several months by the Israel Police and the Shin Bet security service on suspicion that they planned to carry out a terrorist attack at Jerusalem's Temple Mount.
The suspects, Mohammed Masoud Jabarin and Amad Lutfi Mohammed Jabarin, both 20, as well as a third suspect who is a juvenile, are alleged to have planned to carry out a shooting attack at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the mount. Indictments against the three were filed on Monday.
The would-be shooting spree recalls a shooting attack that actually did come to fruition on the Temple Mount last July in which two Israeli policemen were killed. In response, Israeli security forces placed metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount, a decision that was met with heavy protest by Palestinian residents of the city as well as by Arab countries. After repeated clashes ensued between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces over the move, Israel reconsidered its decision and removed the metal detectors.
According to the Shin Bet, two members of the alleged terror cell who were indicted on Monday are supporters of the Islamic State group and did not manage to arm themselves before Israeli security forces intervened.
Security forces said the suspects considered carrying out terror attacks in a synagogue as well as in churches. They also planned to attack security forces, to commit an attack with a motor vehicle and to carry out an attack on Christmas Day, officials said.
In September 2017, three other Israeli Arab residents of Umm al-Fahm were arrested under similar circumstances on suspicion that they had planned a shooting attack at the Temple Mount after being inspired by the attack that took place there two months prior to their arrest.