Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By Ian Deitch
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
This July 27, 2011, file image from a web posting by al-Qaida’s media arm, as-Sahab, provided by IntelCenter, shows al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Israel on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, said it had foiled an “advanced” al-Qaida plan to carry out a suicide bombing on the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and bomb other targets, in what analysts said was the first time the global terror network’s leadership has been directly involved in plotting an attack inside Israel.
Al-Qaida-inspired groups are on the rise in the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Islamic militant Hamas.
These groups accuse Hamas of being too lenient because it has observed cease-fires with Israel and has stopped short of imposing Islamic religious law, or Shariah, in Gaza.
In the West Bank, Israel and the Palestinian Authority of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have cracked down on Islamic militants. Three Salafis, members of a movement that advocates a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law, were killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank last November.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said U.S. investigators and intelligence officials were not yet able to corroborate the Israeli information and declined comment on specifics of the case.
"Obviously we're looking into it as well," Harf told reporters Wednesday. "I don't have reason to believe it's not true. I just don't have independent verification."
She said there were no plans to evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and was not immediately aware of stepped-up security measures there in light of the arrests.