Israel’s Shin Bet security agency announced on Monday that it has arrested three Israeli Arabs over allegedly supporting Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and planning an attack in East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.
The arrests were made in January and earlier in February, Xinhua cited the agency as saying.
The suspects were identified as Muhammad Masoud Jabarin, 20, Amad Lutfy Jabarin, 20 and a third man whose name could not be disclosed because he was a minor at the time of the alleged offenses.
The three are residents of Umm al-Fahm, an Arab city in northern Israel.
Two of them are supporters of the IS, the Shin Bet said.
According to the investigation, the trio planned to carry out a shooting attack in the holy compound, similar to the attack on July 14, 2017, in which two Israeli police officers were killed by three gunmen from Umm al-Fahm.
“The attack was thwarted thanks to precise intelligence information that led to the timely arrest of the cell members even before they managed to procure weapons,” the Shin Bet said.
“It was also learned that some cell members also considered attacking sacred buildings (synagogues and churches) and security forces, carrying out vehicular attacks, and carrying out attacks over the Christmas holiday,” the statement read.
The Shin Bet views Israeli IS supporters as a “grave threat.” Over the past years, dozens of Israelis were arrested for supporting the IS.