British consulate employees in Jerusalem charged for arms trafficking

Written by: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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Jerusalem, Jan 4 (ANI): Israel has charged two Palestinian staff at British consulate in Jerusalem for arms trafficking.

According to The Telegraph, five Palestinians were arrested in November last year by Israel police for planning an attack on Teddy Stadium, home to the Beitar football team. However, details have only now emerged following Sunday's court hearing.

Among the three Palestinians detained, two of them were maintenance men employed by the British Consulate General, and were arrested on suspicion of supplying them with guns.

The two men initially charged over the stadium plot, named as Mussa Hamada and Bassem Omari, were said to be members of Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip and is in a state of war with Israel.

They were also alleged to have received financial support from Muslims in Saudi Arabia, but no rocket was reportedly found, the paper said.

Omari was an Israeli citizen and a resident of Beit Safafa in part of east Jerusalem annexed by Israel. The other four Palestinians also lived in east Jerusalem, but did not have Israeli citizenship.

"The two went to a ridge overlooking the stadium in order to select the best place for an attack and carried out reconnaissance of the area, although the planning was not translated into action," a Shin Bet statement said.

It said the men had acquired pistols and were trying to obtain rifles and explosives.

Relations between the UK and Israel are strained owing to differences over the Middle East peace process, but a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesman in London said there were no diplomatic implications to this episode. (ANI)

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