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46-year-old Jerusalemite Charged As Leader of Sicarii Underground

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The police have charged a 46-year-old Jerusalem man with being the founder and chief operator of a Jewish underground terrorist group called Sicarii, which is believed responsible for about a dozen attacks on prominent left-wing Israelis during the past year.

Joel Adler, a contractor, was arrested three weeks ago. His detention was not disclosed until Tuesday when he appeared before Tel Aviv Magistrate Chaim Einat, who ordered him held in custody.

Adler, who appealed the order to a district court, was granted $25,000 conditional bail.

He will remain in custody until Thursday, when the district court reviews new evidence the police might produce.

So far, the evidence is reported to be only circumstantial. The police say they need more time to establish a case against Adler which would stand up in court. Adler strenuously denies the charges.

The hearing in magistrates court was held behind closed doors. The media were given only the name of the suspect and the nature of the charge. Details of the investigation were withheld.

But it is known that Adler is alleged to have been the principal activist of Sicarii and had no more than one or two accomplices.

The group takes its name from a radical gang of zealots, so called because each carried a “sica,” or dagger, that operated during the Jewish revolt against Rome in the first century C.E.

Sicarii has claimed credit for setting fire to the front doors of the homes of prominent Israeli authors, poets, journalists, popular song writers, entertainers and others deemed to be leftists.

Adler is linked to the far right in Israel. He has been associated with the Tehiya party, with Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach extremist movement and with Gush Emunim, all of which dissociated themselves from him on Tuesday.

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