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5 Israeli Jews held over plot to attack Temple Mount

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Now, if these were Palestinians, I'll bet my year's salary that they wouldn't have been released.

Jerusalem Police and the Shin Bet security service revealed Monday that in recent weeks they arrested and released five Israeli Jews on suspicion of planning an attack on mosques on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, with the intention of scuppering the disengagement plan.

The five were part of one of two separate plots by Jewish extremists to attack the Mount that were foiled by the defense establishment.

They will not face charges but are subject to conditional release, and were freed on the grounds that they had been unable to implement their plan.

The group is suspected of planning to fire a Lau anti-tank missile at the Mount and then commit suicide on the roof of a yeshiva in the Old City. They were held for three weeks and released on the eve of Passover.

Two of the central suspects, Avtalion Kadosh, 21, from Jerusalem and 23-year-old Eyal Karamani from Rehovot, turned to the criminal underworld in a bid to obtain the weapons, Israel Radio said.

According to the report, the five toured of the site, and decided that they would fire the missile at the Mount and then throw hand grenades at security forces who arrived at the scene, before committing suicide.

Another man was also detained over a plan to fly a model aircraft into the Mount.

Last summer, the defense establishment confirmed that it was becoming increasingly concerned that right-wing extremists might be plotting an attack on the Temple Mount to derail the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

As a result, Israeli security sources said at the time, the Shin Bet and the police were preparing for a number of possible terror attack scenarios at the sacred Old City site.

The site has been vulnerable to attacks in the past.

In 1969, an Australian Christian fundamentalist set fire to the Al-Aqsa mosque and caused extensive damage, saying he wanted to pave the way to rebuild the biblical Temple. An Israeli court ruled him insane.

In 1982, an Israel Defense Forces reservist from the United States opened fire on the Dome of the Rock, the golden-capped mosque opposite Al-Aqsa, killing two Palestinians and wounding nine.

Two years later, the Shin Bet caught Jewish extremists who had amassed large amounts of army explosives to blow up the Dome of the Rock.

So potent a symbol is the site that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit there in late 2000, when he was opposition leader, touched off riots that descended into more than four years of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.

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