An American Christian is facing charges in Israel of plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, Israeli authorities said Tuesday.
Adam Everett Livix, 30, was identified by the Israeli Police and the Justice Ministry. Livix faces drug charges in the U.S. and that he once turned down an offer from a Palestinian to assassinate President Obama during a visit to Israel in 2013.
The Justice Ministry said the man they identified as Livix underwent a psychiatric evaluation Tuesday after his indictment Monday on charges of illegal weapon possession and overstaying his visa by more than a year. Operating in cooperation with Israel's Shin Bet security service, police went to arrest Livix last month at his 7th-floor apartment, the ministry said, but he initially tried to escape by leaping down to a patio on the floor below.
Livix, posing as an ex-Navy SEAL, was asked by a Palestinian to assassinate Obama with a sniper rifle in March 2013 when Obama was making a trip to the region, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfield said. Livix did not go through with it and the FBI ended up investigating the matter.
Later that year, Livix entered Israel, the Justice Ministry said, and told Israeli friends he had strong anti-Arab sentiments. The ministry said Livix later cooperated with his roommate, a serving soldier in the Israeli military, to obtain 3 pounds of explosive material to blow up the unidentified Jerusalem holy sites. The ministry said police discovered the plot in October.
Livix's indictment comes at a time of rising tensions in Jerusalem, mostly over a disputed holy site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount. It is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest in Judaism.
As members of the Israeli government demand that Jews be allowed to pray at the Muslim-run site, Palestinians fear it is a pretext to a Jewish takeover.
This isn't the first time there have been allegations of a foreigner threatening a holy site in Jerusalem. In 1969, an Australian Christian started a fire at the complex's Al-Aqsa Mosque in hopes that it would hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ. The man, Denis Michael Rohan, was subsequently committed to a mental institution.
The Associated Press contributed to this report