Israeli-Arab Hebrew University students charged with operating al-Qaeda cell

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

(Illustration) Muhammad Nijm , a Hebrew University student living in a student dormitory, surveilled a helicopter landing pad near the university's stadium, taking pictures with his cell phone.

The Israel security forces have recently arrested six Israeli Arabs, four of them residents of east Jerusalem, on suspicion of planning to operate an al-Qaeda cell in Israel.

There are protests and political rallies for radical groups all the time, so I'm not surprised at all that these guys were involved with a terrorist group. ...if you ask me, what they did, it's like spitting in the well you drink from.

—Hebrew University student, Jerusalem Post

The six, which include Hebrew University students, were indicted of trying to build terror infrastructure in Jerusalem and planned to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel, including an attack on a helicopter carrying a senior official during US President Bush's visit to Israel.

Some of the suspects will be tried for aiding the enemy at a time of war and for soliciting and attempting to solicit others to join a terror organization. They were all charged with membership in a terror organization.

One of the detainees, who lived in the Hebrew University dorms which overlook the university's landing ground, has recorded helicopter landings in the area using his cell phone and also, allegedly, looked for instructions for shooting down a landing helicopter on the internet.

The six suspects were identified as:

  • Ibrahim Nashef, 22, of Tayibe, a physics and computer sciences student at the Hebrew University;
  • Muhammas Najem, 24, of Nazareth, a chemistry student at the Hebrew University;
  • Yusef Sumarin, 21, of the Jerusalem village of Beit Hanina;
  • Anas Shawiki, 21, of the Jerusalem town of Jabel Mukaber;
  • Kamal Abu Kwaider, 22, of Jerusalem's Old City; and
  • Ahmed Shawiki, 21, of the Jerusalem town of Shuafat.