The Jerusalem court and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) disclosed Wednesday, Jan. 22, that three Palestinians were in custody having been recruited by al Qaida for three separate suicide operations in conjunction with 5 North Caucasian terrorists due to enter Israel as tourists on fake Russian passports. The plot was orchestrated by Ayman Zuwahiri. It targeted the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Convention Center and buses on the Jerusalem-Maaleh Adummim route.
debkafile’s counter terror sources: This was the first time al Qaeda leader Zuwahari was to take a personal hand in setting up attacks inside Israel and his first attempt to use his operational ties for building mixed teams of jihadists from the Caucasus, the Gaza Strip, Syria and local Palestinians – two from East Jerusalem and one from Jenin.
Suicide bombers were to storm the US embassy in Tel Aviv or blow themselves up at the entrance to the building. This attack was to be coordinated with a simultaneous shooting attack on buses plying the Maaleh Adummim-Jerusalem line.
Suicide bombers clad in explosive vests were to stage a double attack on the Jerusalem National Convention Center – one blowing up the cavernous building and the second detonating a truck bomb against the responders to increase the casualties.
The Shin Bet inquiry found that two East Jerusalem Palestinians had been recruited as operatives or accomplices.
Iyad Abu Sara, 23, from Ras Hamis in Jerusalem, who was arrested late last year, revealed under questioning that he'd been recruited online by a senior Al Qaeda operative from Gaza called Arib al-Sham.
For his initiation into al Qaeda, he promised to shoot out the tires of an Egged bus causing it to overturn, then shoot the passengers. He was required to serve three months on probation.
Among his other duties, Abu Sara agreed to look after the Caucasian terrorists when they arrived in the guise of Russian tourists. His task was to guide them to their targets, the Convention Center in Jerusalem and the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Abu Sara also admitted that he was assigned to travel via Turkey to Syria for training with Al Qaeda instructors. He was also planning to purchase plane tickets for the five Caucasians. His handler in Gaza sent him a computer file containing a manual on the manufacture of explosives, and informed him that the operation was personally planned by Zuwahiri and would go forward with his blessing.
The second Jerusalem Palestinian arrested was Rubin Abu Nagma, a married father of four from the Abu Tor neighborhood. He was picked up before he could execute additional attacks, such as kidnapping a soldier in Jerusalem and planting a bomb in a building in his neighborhood which has a mixed Arab-Jewish community. Nagma admitted he had obtained weapons and taught himself how to build bombs from the Internet.
debkafile's counterterrorism sources disclose that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put before Russian President Vladimir Putin details of the inquiry into the al Qaeda plot, including the plan to import Caucasian terrorists, when they met in Moscow on Nov. 20. In addition to the Iranian nuclear issue, they also discussed using Israel’s counter-terror expertise to aid Russia in securing the Sochi Olympic Games against Islamist terrorists from the Caucasus and Syria.