Hamas members planned to jolt Israel into halting the conflict in Gaza by assassinating the Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, but the plot was foiled by Israeli security forces, according to an announcement by the Shin Bet intelligence agency.
Shin Bet said that three Palestinians from the Bethlehem area planned to kill the Israeli far-right politician by opening fire on his vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). There was no way to confirm the veracity of the claim. A spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, said from Gaza that he did not have specific information about the case, but added that “leaders of the occupation who are responsible for killing children and women, and for defiling the sacred sites are legitimate targets for the resistance”, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted yesterday in the north, south and central parts of the occupied West Bank as Israeli-Palestinian tensions remained high three days after a Palestinian attack on a Jerusalem synagogue killed four worshippers and a policeman.
Adding to the volatile situation, Palestinian media reported late yesterday that an Arab woman was wounded after allegedly being intentionally run over by an Israeli driver in the Palestinian Shuafat neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he had no knowledge of such an incident. Four Israelis have been killed over the last month by Palestinian car attacks in Jerusalem.
Unrest in Jerusalem
Unrest in Jerusalem
A masked Palestinian celebrates the attack on the Jerusalem synagogue holding a poster of the attackers,Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, during a rally in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
A masked Palestinian youth wearing a Hamas headband uses a sling-shot to throw back a tear gas canister towards Israeli forces during clashes outside the Israeli-run Ofer military prison following the deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue
Masked Palestinians hold axes and a gun as they celebrate with others an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers carry the body of one of the two Palestinian assailants who were shot dead while attacking worshippers at a synagogue to an ambulance in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
An Ultra-orthodox jewish man prays at the scene of an attack, by two Palestinians, on a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
An Israeli woman cries on a veranda next to a synagogue where a suspected Palestinian attack took place in Jerusalem
An Israeli police officer gestures as he holds a weapon near the scene of an attack at a Jerusalem synagogue
Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers carry the body of an assailant who was shot dead while attacking a synagogue
Israeli emergency services personnel clean the sidewalk at the scene of an attack, by two Palestinians, on Israeli worshippers at a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
Israeli security personnel run next to the synagogue in Har Nof, where a suspected Palestinian attack took place
A Palestinian activist knocks a hole through the wall near East Jerusalem
A masked Palestinian youth burns a tire near Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
A Palestinian protester throws a stone at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank town of Abu Dis near Jerusalem
Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni in the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem . A Palestinian bus driver was found hanged in his vehicle in Jerusalem, sparking clashes, after what Israel said was an apparent suicide but a colleague said looked like murder
A Palestinian protester tries to hammer a hole through Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
Palestinian protesters climb a ladder at Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
Israeli border policeman arrested over shooting of Palestinian boy during West Bank protests
Masked Palestinian youths clash with Israeli security forces in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Tor
Israeli fire fighters inspect the scene of an attack in Jerusalem. A Palestinian man rammed his car into a crowded train platform in east Jerusalem and then attacked people with an iron bar, killing one person and injuring 13 in what authorities called a terror attack before he was shot dead by the police. The militant Islamic group Hamas took responsibility for the attack
Israeli police officers walk at the scene of an attack in Jerusalem
Israeli rescue workers and paramedics carry an injured man to an ambulance after a Palestinian man, Ibrahim al-Akri, was shot by Israeli police officers after he drove into a crowd of people
Ultra-Orthodox Jews look on from behind a police line at the scene of a killing when a Palestinian man drove a van into a crowd of police and civilians along the tracks of the Light Rail trolley system in East Jerusalem
Shin Bet’s statement, released late on Thursday, named the three suspects as Ibrahim Zir, 37, the head of the cell who had served time in prison for Hamas military activities, his brother Ziyad, 35 and a third man, Adnan Zabih. The three come from Harmala village, a few miles away from the settlement of Nokdim where Mr Lieberman lives. They allegedly planned to kill him by targeting his convoy on his way home. Shin Bet said the idea was “to send a message to Israel and end the war in Gaza”.
But the agency said it foiled the plot after Ibrahim Zir contacted another Hamas activist for help in obtaining the RPG. The three have been indicted in a military court for allegedly plotting to kill Mr Lieberman and conspiring to obtain the weapon, according to the Shin Bet statement.
In the West Bank, there were major demonstrations at Kalandia, Hebron, Kadum and al-Ram and small protests at dozens of areas throughout the territory, an army spokeswoman said. Troops used rubber bullets and .22 calibre rounds to quell a “very violent riot” at Kalandia, she added.
In Hebron, 350 Palestinians hurled rocks at the army and troops responded with teargas, the spokeswoman said. Palestinian reports said rubber bullets wounded a number of demonstrators. Also in Hebron, two Palestinians hurled a petrol bomb at an army post, setting it ablaze, the spokeswoman said. The two escaped.
In Kadum, hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks and troops responded with .22 calibre bullets, the spokeswoman said. Three people were wounded, according to the Palestinian news agency Maan. In al-Ram, a soldier was slightly injured as dozens of people threw rocks at troops.
Meanwhile, tensions remained high inside Israel. In the northern city of Acre, the car of a Muslim cleric, Samir Aasi, who had participated in an inter-religious condolence event at the synagogue the day after the attack, was damaged with acid. In Hadera, also in northern Israel, a 53-year-old man was arrested on suspicion that he threatened Arab workers in a restaurant. Ynet news agency reported that police suspect he complained to the owner about employing Arabs, threatened to harm them, and that he came back with a knife and threatened them again. One of the workers overpowered him and police arrived on the scene and arrested him.