Terrorist plan targeted Netanyahu and Canadians, security officials say

A street sign pointing to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. (U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/CC BY 2.0)

A senior Canadian security delegation visiting Jerusalem was targeted by an eastern Jerusalem man who was arrested for an attempted assassination attack on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Muhammad Jamal Rashdeh, 30, an Israeli-Arab citizen, who was working for a Syrian terrorist cell, was arrested in April and indicted last week, the Israel Security Agency (ISA), or Shin Bet, announced for the first time on Tuesday after a gag order on the case was lifted. Two other unnamed members of the terror cell were later arrested, according to the ISA.

In addition to targeting high-ranking Israeli officials and the Canadian delegation, Rashdeh also planned to attack buildings that belong to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, which is now the embassy.

The cell also planned to bring a terrorist into Israel from Jordan to help advance the attacks, according to the ISA.

Rashdeh, on instruction from a terrorist in Syria that the ISA did not name, carried out advance operations to gather intelligence on possible targets. Rashdeh has spent time in an Israeli prison for what the ISA called “terrorist offences.”