Three Israeli Arabs Arrested on Suspicion of Planning ISIS-inspired Temple Mount Attack

Two suspects are accused of planning attack similar to one that killed two policemen in July – after trying and failing to join Islamic State in Syria

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Metal detectors at Jerusalem's Temple. Mount
A Palestinian man walks past a metal detector at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, July 18, 2017. They were later removed by Israeli authorities.Credit: Mahmoud Illean/AP

Three residents of the northern Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm were arrested about three weeks ago on suspicion of involvement in planning a shooting attack on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the Shin Bet security service disclosed on Thursday.

Two of the three were indicted in Haifa District Court on Thursday for planning the attack after allegedly failing to join the ranks of Islamic State fighters in the civil war in Syria.

According to the indictment, the two are accused of attempting to replicate the Temple Mount attack in July, in which two assailants, also from Umm al-Fahm, killed two Israeli policemen at the site. The formal charges against Said Jabarin, who is in his 20s, and a 16-year-old whose name cannot be reported because he is a minor include conspiring to aid the enemy in wartime, contact with a foreign agent and weapons offenses.

The indictment alleges that the two identified with ISIS’ ideology and separately began seeking out information about the group on the internet. Jabarin was questioned by the Shin Bet in January in regard to this activity. He was questioned again in May and signed a commitment that he would put an end to it.

But according to the indictment, the two decided to go to Syria and join the ranks of Islamic State forces fighting in the civil war there. The juvenile defendant is said to have contacted an individual on Facebook who identified himself as an ISIS member and said it was not possible to enter Syria at the time. It was then that they decided to plan the Temple Mount attack in an effort to kill Israeli security forces and non-Muslims before committing suicide as ISIS martyrs.

The prosecution said the defendants admitted to contacting an ISIS representative and planning an attack on Temple Mount, and requested to have them held in custody until the end of legal proceedings.

The third person who was detained, Sa’ad Mahajana, is suspected of weapons possession. Security forces confiscated two guns and a sub-machine gun that was allegedly to be used in the planned attack. The Shin Bet and police have also arrested others in the Umm al-Fahm area on suspicion of trading in weapons.

A period of considerable unrest in Jerusalem followed the July Temple Mount attack. The government's decision to set up security on the Mount by installing metal detectors was particular point of contention. Israel eventually removed the metal detectors.

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