The Shin Bet uncovered a suspected Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) cell that had planned a series of attacks, including bombing a Modi'in synagogue and kidnapping U.S. citizens in the West Bank, according to information that was made public Tuesday.
Following information obtained during the interrogation of PFLP member Ramzi Sharona last February, the security services arrested 12 suspects believed to have planned the attacks, aimed at freeing jailed PFLP leader Ahmed Sa'adat.
Sharona admitted he had contacted PFLP activists in Gaza, who instructed him to form terror cells in the West Bank cities of Jenin, Hebron and Nablus, the Shin Bet said.
His Gaza contacts allegedly asked Sharona carry out an attack at a synagogue in Israel in order to "avenge the Jews' activities at the Al-Aqsa compound," referring to the walled compound in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
According to his interrogators, Sharona, who had been illegally working as a laborer in Modi'in, said he intended to plant an explosive device in a nearby synagogue, blow it up when it was empty of worshipers, and then flee to Ramallah.
In addition, the Shin Bet says the cell was planning to kidnap U.S. civilians in order swap them for PFLP leader Sa'adat; shoot motorists at a Modi'in road and attack Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Hebron.