"Five Arab men were indicted in a Jerusalem court
Thursday for being part of a Jerusalem-based terror cell which planned to carry out a bombing at the Knesset and a series of other attacks which they
hoped would secure them membership in the al-Qaida terror organization.
The five, who range in age from 17 to 22 and include four Jerusalem Arabs and an Israeli Arab, were apprehended over the last several weeks in a joint
Jerusalem police-Shin Bet investigation.
News of the arrests was made public Thursday
following their indictment in the Jerusalem district court, at which time a court-imposed gag order was lifted on the case.
Since the five were caught while still in the planning stages of their attacks, they were indicted on the relatively light charges of contacting an
enemy during wartime, treason and attempted weapons-related violations.
The indictment, charges that the suspected terror cell members, headed by Murad Elian, 20, of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras el-Amud, planned
to carry out a series of attacks against Israelis nationwide.
Elian, who had recently become a 'devout Muslim,' is suspected of enlisting the other cell members
(Hussam Marisat, 19, of Dir Hana, Bahjat Hashim, 17, of Beit Hanina, Marwan Abu Laban, 22, of A-Tur and Hamad Shaaban, 18 of Jerusalem) at
Jerusalem's Al-Aksa Mosque two months ago.
The charge sheet states that the cell members hoped that after carrying out an assortment of attacks in Israel, including the Knesset bombing, they
would be contacted by al-Qaida and enlisted in their organization.
The Knesset bombing was to have been carried out by a cell member, Hussam Marisat, 19, who hoped to gain work at the Knesset as a construction worker
in order to garner information for the planned attack at Israel's heavily-guarded parliament building.
According to the indictment, the five suspects also conspired to attack an army checkpoint, to murder a Druze soldier and then carry out an attack in
a Druze village in northern Israel (in order to inflame Christian-Arab tensions), to murder a Jewish gas station attendant and then steal his money to
fund their attacks, as well as to set fire to a Jewish bakery where one of the suspects worked.
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