Israeli police have charged five Hamas members with plotting terror attacks in Jerusalem, including a plan to fire a rocket into a Jerusalem soccer stadium during a game. The five, including two primary plotters, were arrested in November. The plot was only recently revealed following the lifting of an Israeli court gag order.
"From their Shin Bet interrogation… after Operation Cast Lead the two [primary plotters] began to plan a terror operation in Jerusalem, as part of which they examined the possibility of firing a missile at Teddy Stadium while a game was in progress," said a statement by Israel's security service, the Shin Bet. "The two went to a ridge overlooking the stadium in order to select the best place for an attack and carried out reconnaissance of the area, although the planning was not translated into action."
The two primary suspects, Mussa Hamada and Bassem Omri, were indicted on charges of "membership in and support for a terrorist organization, firearms offences and conspiracy to commit a crime." The plot was intended to be a revenge attack for Israel's January 2009 Operation Cast Lead, according to the indictment. The indictment also outlined their membership in Hamas, dating to 2000, and accused them of working with Hamas representatives at the al-Aqsa mosque for the past three years.
As part of the plot, Hamada and Omri also traveled several times to Saudi Arabia to meet with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Shin Bet statement. "During one of the meetings, the Saudi representative gave Mussa Hamada money for the purchase of weapons and asked in return that he gather information on Jerusalem," the statement said. The Brotherhood also asked the two to conduct surveillance on targets in Jerusalem.
In 2001, two Palestinians died in an explosion near Teddy Stadium, which Israeli police said was caused by the premature explosion of a bomb they were assembling.