5 Israeli Arabs charged in terror plot

(Jerusalem Post)The state charged five Israeli Arabs on Thursday with belonging to a terrorist organization that planned to kidnap IDF soldiers and detonate bombs, according to an indictment filed in the Haifa District Court.

The gang was uncovered by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the police. Two minors, both 17, were also arrested and have already been indicted, according to Dep.-Cmdr Avi Elgrisi, head of the Amakim Police Central Unit. Their names have not been released for publication.

The adult members of the gang were its leader, Abdullah Haruba of Mughar, and Suheib, Kuteiba, Muhammad and Ahmad Kabha from the Israeli part of the village of Barta'a, which straddles the Green Line.

The charges against them include conspiracy to help the enemy in wartime, membership in an unlawful association, contact with a foreign agent, and weapons offenses. The penalty for assisting the enemy in wartime is the death penalty or life imprisonment.

According to the indictment, Haruba began corresponding with a Palestinian from Gaza nicknamed "Abu Kassam" in November 2008. After the end of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, Kassam told Haruba he must take revenge against Israel for its military operations in Gaza.

Haruba told his interrogators he had the impression Abu Kassam belonged to the Islamic Jihad, because the Palestinian's views seemed to be more extreme than those of Hamas.

Haruba allegedly began learning how to make different kinds of explosives from instructions prepared by various terrorist groups, including Fatah's al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades. He prepared a makeshift bomb and two makeshift pistols, which were later discovered in his home, the indictment said.

According to police, eight other bombs were discovered in Barta'a.

Haruba also allegedly made Internet contact with Suheib Kabha and enlisted him in the conspiracy. According to the indictment, they discussed the need to get hold of explosives and weapons, and the type of operations they could carry out - including detonating a bomb in order to kidnap a soldier and hold him as a bargaining chip for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Suheib Kabha also conducted an Internet correspondence with Abu Kassam and enlisted Kuteiba, Muhammad and Ahmad Kabha in the terrorist group, the indictment said. Kuteiba Kabha allegedly purchased two explosive devices from a Palestinian relative.

According to Elgrisi, Haruba, the first of the suspects to be detained, was arrested on April 8, the night of the Seder.

Police prevented publication of the arrests until the Thursday indictment.

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