Hungary foils terror plot against Holocaust museum

budapest (ap) | Hungarian police arrested three Arabs, including the spiritual leader of an Islamic community in Budapest, and suggested they plotted to bomb the country’s new Holocaust museum during a visit by Israeli President Moshe Katsav.

An aide to Katsav and Israeli diplomats said the president was the target of the alleged conspiracy. One Israeli analyst suggested the plot may have been motivated by Israel’s assassination last month of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Although Hamas vowed revenge against Israeli leaders, Hungarian police said they found no link to Hamas in this plot. They also denied a link between Katsav’s visit and the planned attack.

Police said investigations leading to the arrest revealed no specific date or target for the attack.

For months, authorities monitored phone calls by one suspect, a 42-year-old Palestinian dentist who became a naturalized Hungarian citizen, asking acquaintances “to get explosives,” Police Lt. Col. Attila Petofi said.

During one call, “he asked an acquaintance to use the explosive to blow up a Jewish museum,” Petofi said.

The only permanent Jewish museum in the capital is the Holocaust Memorial Center, which was scheduled to be inaugurated Thursday, April 15, by Katsav.

The two Syrians were charged with preparing for a crime against property, he said without elaborating.