OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency said on Sunday it had arrested three Palestinians engaged in a plan by militant Islamist group Hamas to bomb a Jerusalem shopping center.
Shin Bet said in a statement that in a joint operation with the military and police its agents last month detained two men from Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem who worked as cleaners in the Mamilla mall, an upmarket shopping street just outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.
The development, which also houses a five-star hotel and luxury apartments, is popular with Israelis, Palestinians and tourists.
The statement said that also arrested was a Hamas operative from the West Bank city of Ramallah whose home was found to contain an explosives lab and who recruited the Jerusalem men, both in their 20s.
"They were supposed to bring an explosive charge into Israeli territory," the Shin Bet said. "They were to bring it into the mall and hide it in their lockers at their place of work."
It added that during the coming Jewish holidays, when Mamilla is packed with shoppers and diners they were to place the bomb, wrapped as a gift, in a shop or restaurant where it would be detonated.