Saturday, April 12, 2008

Palestinian restaurant workers arrested in plot to mass poison Israelis

Two Arabs from Nablus, Ahab Abu Riyal and Anas Salum, were arrested by Israeli Shin Bet officers last month before they could carry out their mission to poison Israelis on behalf of Hizballah. They are members of the Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, part of Mahmoud Abbas' "moderate" Fatah organization.

The cell was led by two wanted terrorists, Hani Kabi and Husni Tsalag.

They were hired as kitchen workers by the Grill Express restaurant near the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan, apparently after presenting Israeli-issued IDs allowing them to work in the country. Their orders were to dump a slow-acting colorless, tasteless and odorless poison in the food of customers. It would take effect after four hours, enough time to murder a large number of Israeli diners. The Shin Bet did not identify the substance.

One of the two men was detained on March 19, just days before the mission date. The second was picked up at the home of an Israeli Arab friend in Jaffa.

Israeli security forces consider poisoning diners at restaurants or cafes to be a "strategic attack". In the past, terror organizations have tried repeatedly to recruit Palestinian cooks and waiters to poison food at Israeli restaurants. Police note that the plan is a relatively easy means of carrying out a mass attack, as there is no need to smuggle sophisticated weapons into Israel and restaurant employees have free access to the attack site.

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