TEL AVIV (Jan. 13)
An Indian-born Jewish resident of Rishon le-Zion has been indicted for plotting to kill Israeli leaders at the instructions of a Palestine Liberation Organization faction.
Rafael Avraham, 44, was ordered held in custody pending completion of the investigation.
Prosecutors say Avraham, driven by a desire for money, turned to the Fatah group half a year ago after being turned down by the Jordanian and Iraqi embassies in London, to whom he first allegedly offered his services.
Al Fatah is a constituent group of the PLO; both the faction and the umbrella organization are headed by Yasir Arafat.
Avraham allegedly made contact with the group through a Pakistani taxi driver in London who put him in touch with an official of the PLO, Abdul Achman.
Avraham, who has not served in the Israel Defense Force because of mental problems, represented himself as a senior officer in the Israeli army.
He was sent on to Tunis, where he met with Jibril Rajub, described as a senior aide to Arafat and “coordinator of PLO activities in the occupied territories.”
Avraham was given $20,000 and instructed to return to Israel and assassinate an Israeli leader from among a list headed by Ariel Sharon, and including Yitzhak Shamir, Geula Cohen, Yitzhak Rabin and Rafael Eitan.
Rabin became prime minister in July after succeeding a Likud government headed by Shamir and including Sharon. Cohen and Eitan represented right-wing parties in the Knesset at the time.
Avraham spent three days in Tunis, returning to London via Switzerland. While in London, he telephoned Rajub. Pretending he was speaking from Israel, he said he needed another $11,000 to complete his arrangements.
He was detained Dec. 25 at Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel, upon his return from London.