FILE – Masked Palestinians carry Palestinian and Hamas flags during Eid al-Fitr celebrations next to the next to the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 2, 2022. Israeli authorities said Tuesday, May 24, they have foiled a wide-ranging plot by Hamas militants to shoot a member of parliament, kidnap soldiers and bomb Jerusalem’s light rail system during a surge of violence that has left dozens dead in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, File)
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli authorities said Tuesday they have foiled a wide-ranging plot by Palestinian militant Hamas group to shoot a member of parliament, kidnap soldiers and bomb Jerusalem’s light rail system during a surge of violence that has left dozens dead in recent weeks.
The police and Shin Bet security services said in a statement that five Palestinian men from east Jerusalem had been arrested for allegedly planning a shooting attack against far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir and other targets at a time of heightened tensions in the flashpoint city.
The suspects, authorities said, had planned the attacks last month, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to “destabilize” the area around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Authorities said a drone was found, intended to be armed and used in an attack on Jerusalem’s light rail, which sees daily crowds of commuters and tourists.
They identified the plot leaders as Hamas militants Rashid Rashak and Mansur Tzafadi, who “delivered many fireworks, flags and Hamas videos” to east Jerusalem neighborhoods last month during Ramadan. Security forces also seized a camera to be used to photograph “abductees,” cash and other equipment.