Israel today accused six Arabs of trying to set up an al-Qaeda cell within the country and said one of them had proposed attacking helicopters used during a visit by President Bush.
Israel's Shin Bet counter-intelligence agency said that one of the suspects had used his mobile phone to film helicopters at a sports stadium in Jerusalem that was used as a landing site for Mr Bush's delegation. Two of the suspects are Arab Israelis and four are Palestinians from East Jerusalem.
The two Israeli citizens were named as Ibrahim Nashaf, from Taybeh, and Mohammed Nejam, from Nazareth. Both are students at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Mr Nejam is suspected of having studied and photographed the helicopter landing area on the university campus with the view to an eventual attack on it, the spokesman said. Mr Bush landed there during his visit in January.
No details were given on what Mr Nashaf had allegedly done. One of the suspects then posted queries on websites frequented by al-Qaeda operatives, asking for guidance on how to shoot down the helicopters, the agency said in a statement.
The four Palestinians were said to have wanted to become part of the network that was being formed. Lawyers for the six suspects could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Shin Bet said the men had met several times at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, seeking to organize a local al Qaeda network. The agency said computers seized from several of the suspects contained bomb-making manuals.
Earlier this month, Israel indicted two of its Bedouin Arab citizens for links to al-Qaeda and for planning attacks inside the Jewish state.