arab terror cell 248 88.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A terror cell made up of six Israeli Arabs and a Beduin from the North had reached an advanced stage in their plot to carry out an attack on Israelis, and "needed only to pick a date," police told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Dep.-Cmdr. Avi Elgrisi, head of the Amakim Police's Central Unit, said the cell had prepared several explosive devices and simulated the kidnapping of soldiers, while communicating via Internet with a Gaza-based terror operative known as "Abu Kassam."
The cell had filmed its preparations, Elgrisi said, adding that in one exercise a cell member had pretended to be an IDF soldier while the remainder of the group practiced abducting him.
"They also threw an explosive device and detonated it to test its impact. They had completed a process of training themselves. They were close to an attack - the cell had the motivation and the means. All they had to do was pick a date," Elgrisi said.
Police were alerted to the threat by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), prompting a joint investigation that homed in on a 19-year-old Beduin Israeli residing in the northern village of Mughar.
The suspect, identified as Abdullah Haruba, had been in contact with Abu Kassam via e-mails and on-line message boards, where the two discussed "helping the residents of Gaza by inflicting losses among the Jews" in response to Operation Cast Lead.
"They were talking about lowering morale in Israel through terrorism," Elgrisi said.
Haruba was arrested on Seder night, together with six accomplices from the Arab village of Barta'a - two of them minors.
"We found an explosive device and components for making more explosives in the raid on Haruba," Elgrisi added. "There was a great deal of operational information found in the suspect's computer."
Haruba's alleged involvement in the terror cell came as a surprise in light of his personal history. His father, Yunes Haruba, is an IDF veteran who served in Lebanon, where he was wounded. The father has denied the charges against his son.
"We know that bad weeds grow in many good homes. This is what intelligence is for, to find the unusual cases," Elgrisi told the Post. "It's true that the father served in the IDF, but that did not prevent his son from developing a completely alternative world view and ideology. Radical elements attracted the son toward extremism."
He added that police had found eight explosive devices in Barta'a.
Security forces have uncovered a number of Internet-based terrorism plots in the past. Two Israeli Beduin from the Negev town of of Rahat were charged in September with plotting terrorist acts over the Web with al-Qaida members overseas and marking civilian and military sites in Israel for attack.
In December, two Israeli Arabs from the northern city of Jaljulya were arrested for planning al-Qaida-inspired terror attacks against Israeli targets.