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Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 15:49 UK

Israel accuses six of terror link

George W Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at Masada
President Bush visited Israel in January and in May

Israel's internal security service says it has arrested six Arab men accused of trying to set up an al-Qaeda cell in the country.

The Shin Bet agency says that one of the men tried to organise an attack on US President George W Bush during one of his visits to Israel.

No details have been given about whether the suspects came close to carrying out any attacks.

The men, all in their 20s, have not yet responded publicly to the charges.

Shin Bet said the two Israeli Arabs and four Palestinians from east Jerusalem were arrested in June and July but the information was only released on Friday.

The agency said that investigators had also found information about bomb-making on computers belonging to several of the suspects.

Helicopter attack

Shin Bet said that one of the suspects, a 24-year-old chemistry student, lived in a Jerusalem college dormitory overlooking a helicopter landing pad used by President Bush during a visit in January.

The man had used his mobile phone to film the helicopters and then posted queries on web sites used by al-Qaeda members, asking for guidance on how to shoot the aircraft down, the agency said in a statement.

Shin Bet said the men had met several times at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, trying to organise a local al-Qaeda network.

Earlier this month, Israel arrested two Bedouin Arab citizens for alleged links to al-Qaeda and for planning attacks inside the Jewish state.

It was the first time Israel had accused any of its citizens of co-operating with the network.


SEE ALSO
Israel Arabs 'spied for al-Qaeda'
10 Jul 08 |  Middle East

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