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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Swiss 'foiled hit on Israeli jet'
El Al jet (archive pic)
Israel has developed anti-missile technology for airliners
Swiss intelligence agents have foiled a plot to attack an Israeli El Al airliner, officials report.

The federal prosecutors' office said seven people of North African origin had been arrested.

It said law enforcement agencies in other European countries, notably France and Spain, had played a part in the investigation.

According to Israeli media, terrorists planned to use a rocket to bring down an El Al plane in Geneva last December.

The anti-terror operation was launched on 12 May in Zurich and Basel, the authorities said.

Philippe Roy, spokesman for Geneva airport, told the French news agency AFP that El Al had halted flights to the city for a week last December, officially for "commercial or technical" reasons.

The prosecutor's office said police had begun investigating the criminal cell in early 2005 in connection with a series of robberies. Some of the gang's booty was reportedly transferred to a terror group.

The officials said one cell member had been in contact with Mohamed Achraf, a Moroccan extradited from Switzerland to Spain in April 2005 for allegedly plotting to blow up Spain's highest court.

In November 2002 two shoulder-launched missiles narrowly missed an Israeli airliner carrying holidaymakers, which had just taken off from Mombasa, Kenya. The attack was claimed by the al-Qaeda network.

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