On Wednesday, Israel released information that it had foiled an al Qaeda suicide bombing on the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, as well as other targets. Although the U.S. State Department has not been able to verify Israel’s claims yet, if proved to be correct, it will be the first time al Qaeda has been directly involved in an attack inside Israel.
The Army Times reported, “The Shin Bet intelligence agency said it had arrested three Palestinians who allegedly plotted bombings, shootings, kidnappings and other attacks. It said the Palestinian men, two from Jerusalem and one from the West Bank, were recruited by an operative based in the Gaza Strip who worked for al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri.”
“The Shin Bet said the Palestinians planned on attacking a Jerusalem conference center with firearms and then kill rescue workers with a truck bomb. Al-Qaida also planned to send foreign militants to attack the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the same day using explosives supplied by the Palestinians, it said.”
Shin Bet said that the terrorists were in the advanced stages of their planning, but gave little information aside from that.
Al Qaeda linked groups have been on the rise, especially in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, and in the West Bank. These militants have increased the amount of rocket attacks on Israel.
The Army Times continued, “These groups accuse Hamas of being too lenient because it has observed cease-fires with Israel and has stopped short of imposing Islamic religious law, or Shariah, in Gaza.”
“In the West Bank, Israel and the Palestinian Authority of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have cracked down on Islamic militants. Three Salafis, members of a movement that advocates a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law, were killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank last November.”
Despite Israel’s claims about the attack, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has not been evacuated and there have been no indications of increased security.