January 3, 2011 / 5:12 PM / 9 years ago

Israel arrests 2 British consulate staff in gun probe

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Monday it had charged two local employees of the British Consulate General in Jerusalem with arms trafficking as part of an investigation into an alleged plot to fire a rocket into a football stadium.

A British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman confirmed the arrests and said Britain was urgently seeking confirmation of the charges.

“We have been told by the Israeli authorities that the investigation into our two employees is unrelated to the work they do at the consulate,” the spokesman said.

Israel’s Shin Bet Security Service said the two Palestinians were indicted recently on the weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot by two other Palestinians to attack Teddy Stadium, home to Jerusalem’s Beitar soccer team, with a rocket.

The Shin Bet said the consulate staffers helped the two other suspects, alleged members of the Hamas Islamist group who were charged in court on Sunday, to obtain guns.

No rockets were found by Israeli authorities, who said the plot to attack the stadium had been in its preliminary stages.

Reporting by Dan Williams, writing by Jeffrey Heller, editing by Tim Pearce

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