Far-right Israeli minister says attempt to assassinate him foiled

Man was arrested several weeks ago, claims Itamar Ben-Gvir

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's party said the suspect in the assassination attempt was an Arab resident of Jerusalem. AP
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Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Tuesday that officers had arrested a Palestinian suspected of planning to assassinate him.

Mr Ben-Gvir's office said the unidentified man was arrested several weeks ago. He claimed that “terrorist elements from a neighbouring state” funded the attempt.

Local media also reported the alleged assassination attempt.

The minister, in office for the first time as part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, has made controversial remarks about Palestinians throughout his political life, including comments advocating the total annexation of the West Bank and the expulsion of “disloyal” residents.

A masked Palestinian man patrolling in the West Bank following deadly violence by Israeli settlers targeting Palestinian towns. AFP

Since taking office in December, he has called for the death penalty against terrorists. On Sunday, the government advanced an early bill on the matter, although it is expected to meet resistance.

The country's penal code allows the death penalty, but only two people have been executed in its history, including Nazi Holocaust official Adolf Eichmann.

News of the alleged plot came amid a deadly surge in violence between Palestinians and Israelis which has led to local and international calls for de-escalation.

The office of Mr Ben-Gvir's party said the suspect in the assassination attempt was an Arab resident of Jerusalem.

Mr Ben-Gvir said: “I am thankful for the security forces and the police officers that protect me and my life.

“I will not be scared off by attempts to harm me, and I will continue to work towards a strong right-wing security policy, defeat terrorism and return security and governance to the streets.”

Updated: March 01, 2023, 1:55 PM