Israeli Beduin arrested for Al Qaeda terror plot provided information on targets
July 9, 2008
Two Israeli Beduin from the Negev town of Rahat were charged Wednesday with plotting terrorist outrages over the internet with al-Qaida members overseas and marking out civilian and military sites in Israel for attack.
Taher Abu Sakut (right) and Omar Abu Sakut.
The suspects were named by police as Taher Abu Sakut, 21, and Omar Abu Sakut, 22. They were arrested in late May and early June in a joint Israel Police-Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation.
An indictment was filed against them on Wednesday in the Beersheba District Court, accusing them of membership in a terror organization, aiding the enemy during a time of war and transferring information to the enemy with intent to harm national security.
Both suspects confessed during their interrogations to the charges.
"These are not Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza - they're Israeli residents, and we view this episode with extreme severity," F.-Sgt Moti Azor, Head of the Hostile Enemy Activities Unit in Lahish, of the Southern Police District, said. "They're Israelis who were raised in this country.
They really crossed the line and made contact with the worst of our enemies in order to attack us," he added.
"Taher was the first to go online to al-Qaida sites after becoming indoctrinated through the Islamic Movement. He was asked by al-Qaida members for targets in Israel to attack, and responded by sending information on Ben Gurion Airport, the Ashkelon power plant, the Be'er Sheva central bus station, and targets in Eilat," Azor said
"He provided information on where terrorists can enter Israel via the West Bank, and where they could hide out in the desert after an attack. At a certain stage in the communication, Omar asked to be put in touch with fighters in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. He was plotting attacks that could harm his own family," Azor added.
"He then told his cousin, Omar, to join the website, giving him a username and password. They visited 10 Islamist sites, all from their home in Rahat. The suspects used an array of programs aimed at hiding their internet activities and erasing their tracks."
Azor said Taher's father was arrested and then released on bail in connection with the investigation.
"This not about a few kids surfing the internet. They had intent to cause harm, and they admit to doing it out of ideological motivations. This was done with malicious intention. In court, the suspects, who are now anxious, showed some regret, saying they should have stopped themselves. But this regret is insincere - they don't regret it. We have exposed an al-Qaida cell in Israel," Azor said.
Police and the Shin Bet would continue to hunt for jihadi cells in Israel, Azor vowed, adding that he hoped the recent arrest would deter Israeli Arab youths from visiting al-Qaida-affiliated sites.
This is not the first time that Israeli-Arabs have been charged with maintaining contacts with al Qaida.
In December, two Israeli Arabs from the city of Jaljuliya in northern Israel were arrested for allegedly planning al-Qaida inspired terror attacks against Israeli targets.
The suspects told their interrogators that they was influenced by al-Qaida philosophy and used to spend hours surfing Global Jihad websites and listening to speeches of radical Islamic preachers. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1215330914157&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull