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Arabs From Mainstream Village Planned Attacks

Five Israeli Arabs, one of them a student at the Technion, have been arrested for conspiring to commit terror attacks.
By David Lev
First Publish: 9/15/2011, 11:38 AM

Five Israeli Arabs have been arrested for conspiring to commit terror attacks, it was revealed for publication Thursday. The five, residents of the Galilee village of Daburiya, were arrested last month, and were indicted Thursday on charges of conspiracy to kidnap IDF soldiers and carry out terror attacks.

Among other things, the gang was in advanced stages of planning to kidnap an IDF soldier and a Border Police officer who live in their town, and to steal their weapons. They were then going to use the weapons to attack police stations and other places in Jewish towns in the Galilee.

Far from an isolated village, Daburiya, at the foot of Mt. Tabor in the lower Galilee, is well-known to many Israelis. The suspects themselves also seemed to be part of the greater Israeli community; one suspect, Elkhadar Atrash, 24 was a student until recently at Haifa University, while 20 year old Shadi Ali Fuad Ibrahim is a current student at Israel's prestigious Technion. A third suspect, 21 year old Mahdi Mazalhah, was born in Daburiya but is currently a resident of Abu Ghosh, the large Arab town outside Jerusalem frequented by many Israelis for shopping and dining.

Under interrogation, the five admitted to being members of the radical Islamic “Salfiya Jihadiya” movement, which preaches outright Jihad against Israel and the West, and demands the institution of Islamic Shariya law everywhere. Atrash set up a website where he distributed articles and posts advocating the views of the movement, and was a close confidante of radical Nazareth preacher Sheikh Natam Sakhfa, the head of the Ansar Allah movement, whose philosophy has long been considered the ideological root of Al Qaeda's view of the world. The movement, headquartered in Nazareth, was recently declared illegal in Israel because of the violence it advocates.

The court is expected to extend their remand Thursday, as they constitute an immediate terror threat to the public. Some details of the case remain under wraps, police said.