A Hamas terror cell plotting to assassinate Israel’s hawkish right-wing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in a stated bid to “bring about the end to the war in Gaza” has been foiled by the country’s Shin Bet security service, it was announced on Thursday. Four Palestinian men have been arrested in connection with the plan to attack Lieberman’s car with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) while he travelled with his ministerial convoy. According to the Shin Bet statement all the terror plot suspects are from villages near to Bethlehem, close to Nokdim — a guarded Israeli settlement in West Bank where Lieberman owns a home.
It seems clear that Islamic State is raising the stakes, aware that the gruesome death of an American and the image of another one at the mercy of an executioner who is taunting a US president could invite retaliation – heavier air strikes at least. But the United States and other Western powers may now be diverting their attention away from the Sunni insurgents innorthern Iraq to what they are capable of doing overseas. The group can draw on hundreds if not thousands of foreigners with Western passports that can keep them below the radar, like the British-sounding man who appeared to have killed Foley, to carry out its threats.
British police have warned the public that merely watching the James Foley beheading video may be a criminal offense under terrorism legislation, a draconian escalation that threatens to create an ominous pretext for the free flow of information on the Internet. After the video emerged, which purports to show an ISIS militant with a British accent beheading American journalist James Foley, the Guardian reported that Scotland Yard had launched a full investigation. “Scotland Yard warned the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating the video within the UK might constitute a criminal offence under terrorism legislation,” states the report.