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Israel Says It Disrupted al-Qaida Plot to Attack U.S. Embassy

Israeli police outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv in November 2012. The Shin Bet intelligence agency on Wednesday announced it had uncovered an al-Qaida plot to carry out suicide attacks on the embassy and other locations inside Israel. Israeli police outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv in November 2012. The Shin Bet intelligence agency on Wednesday announced it had uncovered an al-Qaida plot to carry out suicide attacks on the embassy and other locations inside Israel. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel on Wednesday announced it had uncovered an al-Qaida plot to carry out a suicide-bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Shin Bet, the nation's domestic intelligence agency, in a statement said two Palestinian men from East Jerusalem had been apprehended for plotting to carry out attacks, Reuters reported. The alleged conspirators reportedly had the assistance of international suicide bombers who were to have masqueraded as Russian holiday-makers.

Shin Bet said an al-Qaida operative in the Gaza Strip found and enlisted the two Palestinian men via Facebook and Skype. Due to their Jerusalem residency, the individuals reportedly could visit all parts of Israel.

The statement from the intelligence agency appeared to make use of information provided by the arrested men. No information was provided on whether the suspects had been provided legal representation.

The two men allegedly intended to supply the foreign operatives with detonation vests that they would wear in attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and a convention center in Jerusalem. Additionally, the men were alleged to have been plotting to seize a soldier and to attack an Israeli bus traveling in the West Bank. One of the Palestinians was apprehended as he was readying to visit Syria, where he allegedly was to receive weapons training.

Israel said a third Palestinian from the city of Jenin in the West Bank had been detained under suspicion of plotting to establish an al-Qaida group in his locality. Two of the men were apprehended in December and the third was arrested in January, according to Shin Bet.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed the Shin Bet accusations as a "pretext" for Israel to carry out new armed assaults in Gaza.

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