Israel Says Exposed Palestinian Plot to Assassinate Kahanist Lawmaker Ben-Gvir

Three East Jerusalem residents charged with plans to carry out attacks against Israelis. Security forces found a drone they suspect was meant to carry explosives

Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir at his makeshift parliamentary office in Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem, in February.
Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir at his makeshift parliamentary office in Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem, in February.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Israel charged three Palestinians with plans to carry out attacks against Israelis, including intentions to assassinate Kahanist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir. According to the indictment served Tuesday against the East Jerusalem residents, they were led by a prominent Hamas figure.

Two others were arrested in connection to the plot, which police and the Shin Bet security service said they also included plans to kidnap soldiers and seize manufacture explosives. In a joint statement, the Israeli security agencies indicated they confiscated a drone allegedly meant to be used for an attack in Jerusalem. The statement didn't mention any weapons.

Far-right leader Ben-Gvir took to Twitter to accuse "leftist incitement" against him as what led to the Hamas-led plot against him. "Words can kill," Ben-Gvir added.

According to the indictments, Mansour Safadi and Mohammed Salaime, both about 20 years old, planned to kidnap Israeli soldiers to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. They also wanted to launch an explosive drone at the Jerusalem light rail or at Jewish-owned homes in Abu Tur, a Palestinian neighborhood in their city.

Shin Bet and police said they were led by Rashid Rasheq, who Israel says organized "riots" in Jerusalem's Old City and in the city's east during Ramadan.

During the month of Ramadan, the police broke into the Temple Mount several times and confronted hundreds of young Palestinians who had barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Dozens were injured in the clashes, including one fatality, and Lid Sharif, who was wounded in the head by a sponge bullet and hospitalized at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir has sparked controversy many times during the past months. On Sunday He informed the head of the Knesset that he intended to visit the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day next week. In February, he set up a makeshift temporary office next to the home of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where he has vowed to maintain a parliamentary office in support of its Jewish community.

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