Israel: East Jerusalem resident proposed attack on Bush helicopterr

Israeli police have arrested six residents of East Jerusalem suspected of trying to form an al-Qaeda cell, one of whom had proposed attacking the helicopter of US President George W Bush during a recent visit, Israel Radio reported Friday.

The six Palestinians were arrested over the past few weeks, the radio said, adding they included two students at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, reported dpa.

One of them, Mohammed Najan, a chemistry student, lived in the dormitories of the university's Givat Ram campus, which is near a helicopter landing pad used by dignitaries visiting nearby government buildings, the radio said. Bush visited Israel in May and January.

The report comes after a first report earlier this month of suspected al-Qaeda activity in Israel, according to which two Arab Israelis, Bedouins in their 20s from the south of the county, had established contacts with al-Qaeda operatives via the Internet.

Those two, Taher Abu Sakut and Omar Abu Sakut, were arrested in late May and early June.

Taher Abu Sakut is suspected of pointing out possible sensitive targets in Israel including the Azrieli Towers - a key office complex and shopping mall in central Tel Aviv.

He also also allegedly pointed them to Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, and to areas with breaches in Israel's controversial security barrier, from where it is possible infiltrate into Israel via the West Bank, the Shin Bet internal security organization said.

The two were indicted in early July.

The main suspects' family and lawyer, however, denied the allegations and said their sons and clients entered the websites linked to al-Qaeda out of "curiosity," but immediately refused to hand over any information related to Israel's security when asked to do so by other users of chat rooms on the site.

Although the network is said to have operatives in the Gaza Strip, thus far, there had until then been no reports of al-Qaeda activity within Israel.

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