Two local staff members at the UK consulate in Jerusalem have been arrested by Israeli authorities on suspicion of selling weapons to Hamas terrorists, officials reported on Monday.
The BBC reported that the two men, who were maintenance workers at the consulate, were arrested over their alleged links to a plan to fire a rocket at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium. The plan was disclosed by the Israel Security Agency on Sunday. It was also revealed that two Jerusalem Arabs were arrested after they carried out surveillance from a hill overlooking the stadium in order to find the best place to launch rockets at it.
BBC said that the two UK consulate workers who were arrested had allegedly obtained weapons for the other two men who were accused of planning the attack.
“I can confirm that two members of the local staff at the consulate general in Jerusalem have been arrested by Israeli authorities,” a Foreign Office spokesman told AFP on Monday. “We understand from reports that they have been charged with the illegal sale of weapons and we are seeking confirmation of these charges. It is an ongoing legal process.”
The Foreign Office refused to comment on the report that the two were connected to the terror plot, but a spokesman said the arrests of the staff members was not connected to their work at the consulate.
Amir Ofek, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London, told The Associated Press on Monday that he believes the two British consulate employees are linked to the Hamas plot to launch rockets at the Teddy Stadium.
“We are trying to figure out exactly what was their relation to this group of Hamas activists,” he said.
The spokesman for Britain’s Foreign Office told The Associated Press that the men were arrested last month and added the two were local hires and not British nationals. He also emphasized that Britain has confidence in the vetting process for all its employees at consulates and embassies. He added that this process is under constant review and that “events like these” arrests will be looked at as part of the continual review.