Islamic State Terrorists Planned Independence Day Terror Attack

The Yerushalayim municipality and Safra Square. (David Vaaknin/ Flash 90)

Police released on Wednesday details of the arrest of two Islamic State terrorists who had planned to carry out a terror attack on Israel Independence Day. Twenty-one-year-old Ahmed Jabais and 19-year-old Basel Abidat were arrested in October, with indictments handed down against them this week for terror-related activities.

The two were arrested on October 28 in the Arab village of Jabel Mukaber near Yerushalayim. According to the indictment, the two in September met to discuss carrying out a terror attack in Yerushalayim, preferably at a site with a large number of people –such as Safra Square, where the Yerushalayim municipality is located, or the Sultan’s Pool outside the Old City. Either of those attacks would have taken place on a holiday or on Independence Day, when events and fairs are held at the locations. The two also considered an attack on an IDF base in the Jordan Valley.

The two discussed acquiring weapons to carry out the attacks, or if weapons could not be gotten, carrying out a massive knife attack. The two sought assistance from Islamic State operatives, and made contact with Islamic State terrorists abroad via social media. In June, Abidat sought to join an Islamic State group in Sinai, but he was denied entry into Jordan, from where he planned to proceed to Sinai. He raised some NIS 2,000 on behalf of the terror group.

Police said that they would continue to work to prevent terror attacks, and to ensure that Islamic State operatives were caught and punished.