Israeli Seminary Students Allegedly Planned Revenge Attack Against Arab Cleric

Students from a Jewish religious school where a Palestinian militant killed eight last week planned a revenge attack against a senior Arab official affiliated with a Jerusalem mosque, Channel One TV reported Tuesday.

The attack has not been carried out but no arrests have been made, the TV said, quoting security sources.

The three students met at the seminary with two rabbis to discuss whether Jewish law would permit such an attack, the TV said. One of the rabbis gave his blessing for the attack, according to the report. An additional rabbi from a Tel Aviv suburb also gave his approval for the attack, the TV said.

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"Torah law is that you should respond," the TV quoted one of the rabbi's as saying.

The plan was to harm a senior Arab official affiliated with a mosque at the disputed Jerusalem holy site known as the Temple Mount to Jews, Channel One said. To Muslims the hill is known as Haram a Sharif.

Police believe the Palestinian attacker, who was from east Jerusalem, chose the religious seminary since it is the flagship of the Israeli settlement movement. The gunman was killed in the shooting.

The mosque compound comprises the third holiest site to Muslims and is built on the buried ruins of ancient Jewish temples of which one outer wall remains, which is the holiest site to Jews.

Police would not comment on the report but said they have prepared for the possibility of such attacks in response to the shooting.

Any attack on a Muslim figure in Jerusalem would certainly inflame tensions in the disputed city that is the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Due to the sensitivities, Israeli police have in the past acted quickly to stop several attempts by Jewish extremists to attack the mosque compound.

The holy site is located in Jerusalem's walled Old City, in east Jerusalem. Israel captured the sector of the city in the 1967 Mideast war, and later annexed it. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to serve as the capital of a future state.