JERUSALEM — Israel's internal security service has requested that a U.S. citizen living in Jerusalem be deported because he was involved in a plot to blow up a mosque here.
The American, identified as 35-year-old David Ben-Ariel of Ohio, was reportedly detained for questioning recently by Shin Bet officials.
He was released several hours later, but his passport was confiscated and he was ordered to report regularly to police.
News reports indicated that Ben-Ariel — and several others who remained at large — allegedly planned to blow up Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem's Old City.
Ben-Ariel strongly denied the allegations and said he was being unfairly treated.
Security sources reportedly preferred that he be deported, and not brought to trial because they lacked hard evidence to convict him.
Ben-Ariel reportedly belonged to the Temple Mount Faithful, a group that seeks to rebuild the Jewish temple at its original location, where two mosques, including Al-Aksa, stand.
Ben-Ariel is said to have arrived in Israel about nine months ago and recently applied for citizenship.