02:03 GMT +320 October 2019
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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends his Likud party session in the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, Feb. 8. 2016.

    Israeli Forces Neutralize Jerusalem Cell Preparing Attack on Netanyahu - Reports

    © AP Photo / Ariel Schalit
    Middle East
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    The Israeli prime minister is currently visiting Europe in order to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal, a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron is set to take place on Tuesday after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that were held on Monday.

    Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency has announced the neutralization of a terrorist cell, which had been preparing an attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, local media reported, citing Israeli counter-intelligence.

    "In recent weeks we detected and eliminated a terrorist cell, controlled by terrorists from Syria, planning a murder attempt on the leadership of [Israel]," the document reads. "The investigation found that according to instructions received from abroad, the members of the cell planned to carry out significant terrorist attacks against a number of targets, including the top officials of the state, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat among them."

    According to the investigation, 30-year-old Muhammad Jamal Rashdah from the Shuafat refugee camp, with an Israeli ID card, started gathering intelligence about the targets, that also reportedly included a delegation of Canadian representatives in Jerusalem and buildings belonging to the US Consulate.

    Subsequently, several additional suspects were arrested; indictments against them were filed on May 27.

    "The arrest of the suspects thwarted significant terrorist activity that the infrastructure sought to advance," Shin Bet said.

    The news comes amid heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israelis along the border in the Gaza Strip, as the Palestinians have been holding mass protests, dubbed the Great March of Return, since March 30 — the rallies have already claimed lives of more than 110 demonstrators as Israel attempted to quell the crowd.

    The situation further escalated on May 14, when more than 60 Palestinians were killed and over 2,700 wounded in clashes with the IDF following the official opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

    In late May, Israel reported numerous missile strikes from Gaza, which prompted a launch of an anti-terror operation in the encalve.

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