Hamas Assassination Plot Targeted Israeli Foreign Minister: Officials

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JERUSALEM — Four Palestinians have been arrested on suspicion of planning to assassinate Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with an anti-tank rocket while he drove to his Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, Israeli officials say. The alleged Hamas plot was hatched during the July-August war in Gaza, according to Israel's Shin Bet security agency. Its disclosure comes as ties fray between Israel and U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank, over a contested Jerusalem shrine.

A statement issued by Shin Bet late on Thursday identified three of the detainees as Hamas members and, citing their confessions under interrogation, said they had hoped that killing Lieberman "would relay a message to the State of Israel that would bring about an end to the Gaza war." Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip did not immediately respond to the allegations. The Shin Bet statement said the suspects had been indicted by an Israeli military court but did not note whether they had entered a plea in response to the charges.

Image: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responds to journalists during a news conference in Jerusalem on Nov. 7.Thomas Coex / AFP - Getty Images

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