ASHKELON, Israel -- An Israeli court has extended by two days the detention of two Palestinian men it suspects of planning to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv under instructions from al Qaeda.

Israel accuses Eyad Abu Sara and Rubin Abu Nigma of planning a suicide bombing at the embassy and a major convention centre in Jerusalem. It says they received their instructions over the Internet through a handler in the Gaza Strip who had direct ties to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

A third suspect was arrested last week but did not appear in court Sunday with the two others.

Israeli security officials have long warned of a growing threat posed from al-Qaeda-linked terrorists. But last week's announcement marked the first time Israel explicitly accused the group of being behind an attempted attack.