Jerusalem: Israel has thwarted a planned attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Jerusalem`s biggest football stadium, arresting 30 suspected militants commanded from Turkey, security services said Thursday.
The Holy City is on edge following a series of deadly "lone-wolf" attacks on Israelis, including deliberate hit-and-run incidents by Palestinian drivers, and the killing of five people in a synagogue.
The 30 suspects, members of a West Bank-based network, were detained in September, domestic security service Shin Bet said after lifting a gag order on the operation.
Aged 23 to 30, they were recruited from Jordan, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Syria, by Hamas commanders based in Turkey, Shin Bet said.
Their orders allegedly included attacking the Teddy Stadium home to the Beitar Jerusalem club, some of whose supporters are known for their racist and anti-Arab sentiments.
Jerusalem`s light railway, which links Jewish settlements in annexed Arab east Jerusalem to the city centre, was also on a list of potential targets, Shin Bet said.
No details were given on the types of attacks planned, or the fate of the suspects.
But the attacks would have claimed "many victims," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
There was no immediate response from Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Turkey, whose relations with Israel have soured in recent years, fiercely condemned Israel`s bombardment of the tiny coastal territory in July and August that killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians.
That followed a year of negotiations with the Jewish state over compensation for a maritime assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010 that killed 10 Turkish activists.
Any deal was put off indefinitely by Israel`s Gaza operation.