On Friday, Israel arrested six Arabs in connection with an alleged plot to attack helicopters used by President George W. Bush during visits to the country, Reuters reported.
Two of the men are Arab citizens of Israel, both of them students at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, according to Shin Bet, Israel's counter-intelligence agency. The other four are Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem. The men range in age from 21 to 24.
One of the Israeli Arabs, a 24-year-old chemistry student, lived in a Jerusalem college dormitory overlooking a helicopter landing pad used by Bush during a visit in January, Shin Bet said.
Using his cell phone, the student filmed helicopters taking off and landing, and sent a message to a Web forum linked to al-Qaida asking about shooting Bush's helicopter down, according to the Shin Bet.
Israeli officials claimed that four of the six suspects had gathered at a mosque in Israel in attempts to organize a local Al Qaeda cell, Reuters reported. As part of the investigation, the suspects’ computers were seized and reportedly contained bomb-construction manuals.
The men were arrested in June and July, the statement said. But the information was only approved for publication on Friday, the day the men were to be indicted in a Jerusalem court.
None face charges of active involvement in any attacks.
The new charges follow the arrest this month of two Israeli Arabs on suspicion they gave strategic information to Al Qaeda. Those arrests marked the first time Israel had accused any of its citizens of cooperating with the terror network.
The two men arrested earlier this month, Bedouin Arabs from southern Israel, gave Al Qaeda operatives information about strategic sites like army bases, skyscrapers and Israel's international airport that could serve as targets, Shin Bet said.
President Bush last visited Israel in May.
Last week, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly canceled a trip to the Middle East because of an alleged security threat uncovered by Shin Bet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.