Israeli police foil plot to blow up mosque, blame rightists

14:10, May 18, 2011      

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The Israeli police on Tuesday announced that they have uncovered a plot by an Arab-Israeli underworld clan to commit criminal acts and frame them on right- wingers and religious Jews.

Among the charges revealed after a court-imposed gag order was rescinded, was an attempt to bomb a venerated Tel Aviv landmark, the Hassan Bek Mosque, and a Tel Aviv Scientology Church center.

In a plot which police described as "stunning in its far- reaching ramifications," the charge sheet said the alleged mob families were hired to detonate an explosive device in the mosque, and make it appear like a right-wing "price-tag" attack, the Ynet news site reported.

"Price-tag attacks" refer to a string of reprisal attacks against the Palestinian property by Israeli right-wingers, in response to police crackdowns on illegal settlement activity.

Police officials, however, said the gang was not very successful.

"They don't really seem to be serious, and though they were organized, they are not, so to speak, 'sophisticated' in the way they operate," police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Xinhua.

"The suspects tried to scare the mosque's sheikh because of a business problem, they wanted to scare him by planting a device under his car," Rosenfeld commented, "but we're still not sure if their intention was to finally detonate it or just give him a warning."

Rosenfeld stressed that the attempted murders and other illegal acts allegedly carried out by the group, were "acts of organized crime," and unrelated to terrorism.

In the Scientology incident, the suspects planned to blow up the center by detonating a truck loaded with liquid propane gas canisters alongside the building.

They planned to drive the vehicle up to the center, while disguised in Hasidic garb, in hopes that witnesses would pin the blame on ultra-orthodox Jews, who are known to oppose the cult's presence in Israel.

The bomb, however, did not explode.

An attorney representing the Scientologists, who was part of the plot, hoped to obtain benefits from contractors during the reconstruction of the building.

They clans also allegedly tried to kidnap a construction department chief in the Tel Aviv Municipality, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The police have so far arrested eight members from two different families. The attorney and three more suspects have admitted to involvement in the charges.

Source: Xinhua
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