Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Consulate staff 'held over weapons'

Two staff members at the British Consulate in Jerusalem have been arrested for allegedly selling weapons

Two staff members at the British Consulate in Jerusalem have been arrested for allegedly selling weapons.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that two local staff members at the Jerusalem Consulate General had been detained by Israeli authorities.

He said: "We are aware of reports that they may be charged with the illegal sale of weapons. We are urgently seeking confirmation of the charges.

"We have been told by the Israeli authorities that the investigation into our two employees is unrelated to the work they do at the consulate. It is not appropriate to comment further on what is an ongoing legal process."

The arrests are reportedly linked to a plot to fire a rocket at a football stadium.

The two men, who were arrested on Sunday, allegedly helped obtain weapons for two other men planning the attack, the reports say.

No rockets were found and the alleged plot was in its preliminary stages when police swooped on the pair of Palestinian residents from East Jerusalem.

According to a local newspaper, the men were linked to militant groups including Hamas and were planning to attack Jerusalem's Teddy stadium, home of the Beitar football team, during a Premier League game.

The report quoted details released by Israel's Shin Bet domestic security service, which said the pair acquired a number of pistols and aimed to build a cache of weapons and explosives.

They had been investigating possible sites from where to launch the rocket and gathering information about security in the area, the security service added.

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