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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Israel arrests two staff members at the British consulate office in Jerusalem on terror plot charges

DAILY MAIL 4th January 2011

By Matthew Kalman

A Hamas spokesman speaks during a news conference in Gaza City in September last year. Two staff at the British consulate in Jerusalem were arrested yesterday on terror charges, accused of working with two Hamas operatives

A Hamas spokesman speaks during a news conference in Gaza City in September last year. Two staff at the British consulate in Jerusalem were arrested yesterday on terror charges, accused of working with two Hamas operatives

Two staff members at the British consulate in Jerusalem were arrested yesterday on terror charges.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service accuses them of supplying weapons for a planned attack on the city’s Teddy football stadium.

The unnamed Palestinians were allegedly working with two Hamas operatives detained in November.

Musa Hamada and Bassem Omeri were indicted in the Jerusalem district court on Sunday and charged with planning a terror attack and membership of a terrorist organisation.

The Shin Bet said the suspects were ‘systematically checking how best to launch a rocket while the stadium was crowded with people during a game’.

‘The two visited a hillside across the stadium in order to survey the area for their attack,’ it said.

Israeli officials said the pair acquired a number of rifles from contacts in East Jerusalem, including the two members of the staff of the British consulate general there, which represents UK interests with the Palestinian Authority.

The Shin Bet said all the suspects were arrested, questioned and confessed to their involvement in buying the weapons.

A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed last night that two local members of staff at the consulate had been arrested.

He said: ‘We are aware of reports that they may be charged with the illegal sale of weapons. We are urgently seeking confirmation of the charges.

‘We have been told by the Israeli authorities that the investigation into our two employees is unrelated to the work they do at the consulate. It is not appropriate to comment further on what is an ongoing legal process.’

The Shin Bet said the terror plot was connected to a larger terror network.

Hamada has allegedly visited Saudi Arabia a number of times, where he met up with a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood radical group.

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