cloudy
Friday September 4th, 2015 5:05PM

Israel says it foiled al-Qaida plot on US Embassy

By The Associated Press
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel on Wednesday said it had foiled an "advanced" al-Qaida plan to carry out a suicide bombing on the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and bomb other targets, in what analysts said was the first time the global terror network's leadership has been directly involved in plotting an attack inside Israel.

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.

Washington said the U.S. was not yet able to corroborate the Israeli claims.

While a number of groups inspired by al-Qaida have carried out attacks against Israel before, this appeared to mark the first time an attack was directly planned by al-Qaida leaders.

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.

It said five men whose identity and nationality were not disclosed were to fly into Israel with fake Russian passports to attack the American embassy. It was not clear where the men are located.

The Palestinian operatives had planned on several other attacks, it said. One included shooting out the tires of a bus and then gunning down passengers and ambulance workers.

The agency said it the plot was in "advanced planning stages" but gave no further information on how close the men got to carrying it out. It said the Palestinians from Jerusalem had used their Israeli resident cards to scope out and gather intelligence on targets. They were arrested in the past few weeks, it said.

A number of al-Qaida-inspired groups have carried out rocket attacks from Gaza and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, as well as shootings in the West Bank. Israeli intelligence calls these groups part of a "global jihad" movement.

Aviv Oreg, a former head of the Israeli military intelligence unit that tracks al-Qaida, said the plot marked the first time it has been directly linked to an attempted attack in Israel.

"This is the first time that Ayman al-Zawahri was directly involved," he said. "For them, it would have been a great achievement."

The Shin Bet said the three suspects made contact with al-Qaida over the Internet. It said they planned on traveling to Syria - where various jihadist groups are battling the forces of President Bashar Assad - for training.

Oreg said that many foreign fighters fighting the Assad regime are from Chechnya and predominantly Muslim parts of Russia and speculated that the militants with the phony documents would be from there.

Al-Qaida-inspired groups are on the rise in the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Islamic militant Hamas.

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.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said U.S. investigators and intelligence officials were not yet able to corroborate the Israeli information and declined comment on specifics of the case.

"Obviously we're looking into it as well," Harf told reporters Wednesday. "I don't have reason to believe it's not true. I just don't have independent verification."

She said there were no plans to evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and was not immediately aware of stepped-up security measures there in light of the arrests.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 8 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 8 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 8 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 8 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 8 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 8 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 8 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 8 months ago )
Politics
US stocks sink as mixed jobs report keeps investors guessing about the rate outlook
NEW YORK (AP) — It's an old adage that investors hate uncertainty. Unfortunately for them, they got more of it on Friday.The stock market has been volatile for weeks on concern that China's economy is...
4:52PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Attorney for jailed clerk: Marriage licenses given to gay couples void, will appeal contempt
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — A jailed Kentucky clerk asserted that marriage licenses issued without her authority Friday to gay couples in Rowan County are void and "not worth the paper they are written on" b...
4:28PM ( 37 minutes ago )
NC ag officials talking about avian flu with flock owners
Agriculture department officials in North Carolina are holding a series of meeting with backyard poultry owners to talk about the dangers of avian flu.
By The Associated Press
12:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
US employers added 173,000 jobs in August; unemployment rate falls to 7-year low of 5.1 pct.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low in August as employers added a modest 173,000 jobs, a key piece of evidence for the Federal Reserve in deciding whether to raise i...
9:35AM ( 7 hours ago )
Judge nixes 4-game 'Deflategate' suspension for Tom Brady; NFL quickly appeals to 2nd Circuit
NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady learned Thursday he will start the season on the field after a judge lifted the league's four-game suspension of the star quarterback for a scandal over deflated footballs, s...
9:19PM ( 19 hours ago )