A statement by the Israeli security service Shin Bet said that two men, Mussa Hamada and Bassem Omari, had for several years been active in the militant Islamic movement Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jerusalem. It said they received support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia.
The two were formally charged on Sunday with "membership in and support for a terrorist organisation, firearms offences and conspiracy to commit a crime," the statement said. Three other men have already been charged with trafficking in weapons, it added.
The Shin Bet said Omari, a resident of the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Safafa, is an Israeli citizen. Hamada and the three accomplices were described as residents of east Jerusalem, a term used to describe Palestinians authorised to live in Jerusalem but who do not have Israeli citizenship.
The statement released Sunday was the first news of the arrests, which the agency said were made in November. It said the suspects began plotting an attack after Israel's December 2008-January 2009 "Operation Cast Lead" offensive in Gaza, and had planned to target the 21,000-capacity Teddy Stadium during a football match.
"From their Shin Bet interrogation it transpires that after Operation Cast Lead the two began to plan a terror operation in Jerusalem, as part of which they examined the possibility of firing a missile at Teddy Stadium while a game was in progress," the statement said.
"The two went to a ridge overlooking the stadium in order to select the best place for an attack and carried out reconnaissance of the area, although the planning was not translated into action," it added.
The statement said the men had bought several pistols and were trying to acquire a rifle and explosives. It said that during the past two years Hamada made several visits to Saudi Arabia, where he met a local member of the Muslim Brotherhood. "During one of the meetings, the Saudi representative gave Mussa Hamada money for the purchase of weapons and asked in return that he gather information on Jerusalem," the statement said.
More than 270,000 Arabs live in east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed shortly after, in a move not recognised by the international community.
Very few of them hold Israeli citizenship although Palestinian residents of the city enjoy special status which allows them free movement throughout Israel, unlike their brethren in the West Bank.