Israel security services uncover Palestinian cell that planned to kidnap IDF soldiers
Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine planned to kidnap soldiers in the West Bank and Israel as a bargaining chip for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Israel security services together with IDF and Israel police uncovered a terrorist cell that planned to kidnap an IDF soldier as a bargaining chip.
According to the Shin Bet, the terrorist cell was led by Rajab Salach Saladin, a 52-year-old resident of the West Bank village of Hizma, affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Through questioning the suspects, it was learned that the cell had planned a detailed kidnapping. The cell planned to stop their vehicle next to a soldier, and forcefully drag them inside, where they would hit the soldier with an iron pipe. Also, the group held handcuffs inside the car, as well as cloth to cover the would-be victim’s eyes and face.
The group planned to hold the kidnapped soldier in a cave close to the village, or in a hidden apartment. The group then meant to approach the family members of well-known Palestinian prisoners such as Marwan Barghouti or Ahmed Sa'adat, and ask them for money in exchange for using the kidnapped soldier as a bargaining chip in a possible deal to release Palestinian prisoners.
Also, security services point out that the cell conducted numerous trials to practice the kidnapping method, and even attempted an actual kidnapping, without success. For example, on January 4, the cell drove around the Ma’ale Adumim area, and spotted a lone settler waiting at an intersection. The group made a U-turn, and as they passed by, they discussed the possibility of kidnapping her, though in the end they decided they would only kidnap a soldier. Later on, the cell drove to Ma’ale Adumim Junction. There were no soldiers in the area to kidnap, and so they returned to their village. Two days later, the terrorists returned to the junction, yet failed to find soldiers there, nor in a nearby gas station. Again, the cell returned to their village.
The Shin bet explained that the failure of the terrorist cell to find soldiers in the Ma’ale Adumim area led the group to plan a kidnapping of a soldier inside Israel. The group then planned to kidnap a soldier at one of the bus stops between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and then smuggle the victim into the West Bank.
In May, two of the members of the group, Aladin, and Natzif Said, were arrested and will remain in custody until the end of the legal proceedings. The Shin Bet emphasized that their remand has “prevented continuation of attempts to kidnap.” An indictment was issued to the group by the Military Court in Judea, which attributes three attempted kidnappings.
A Shin Bet representative stated that “the activities of the terrorist cell are part of a trend that has been revealed as of late, from which we can determine the efforts the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is making to bring about the release of Ahmed Sa'adat, the group’s imprisoned leader. These attempts demonstrate the high motivation of the Palestinian terror organizations to kidnap a soldier, and the according threat level.”