The Shin Bet and Israel Defense Forces arrested a Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) cell that was allegedly planning to kidnap an IDF soldier in order to bring about the release of PFLP leader Ahmed Sa'adat from an Israeli jail. The authorities released the report following the lifting of a gag order Tuesday.
The Shin Bet says two central players – Ashraf Abu Aram and Mohammed Zitun – both 25, from Ramallah, admitted their plan to carry out the abduction with the goal of releasing the PFLP leader. The two were arrested in September, and since then eight more Palestinians have been arrested, which, according to the Shin Bet, have confessed to such activities as part of their involvement with the PFLP.
The Shin Bet claims that Abu Aram already contacted a local weapons dealer in an effort to obtain two pistols and an automatic rifle with which to carry out the planned abduction. According to the Shin Bet's investigation, the cell planned to kidnap the soldier with a commercial vehicle and conceal the soldier in a hideout in Kafr Aqab. In addition, the Shin Bet is reporting that the cell was considering kidnapping a soldier after one of them fired in the direction of a group of soldiers, or to kidnap an Israeli waiting to hitch a ride in the northern West Bank.
Indictments were filed against the two Ramallah-based cell members in the last two months, which connect them to the planned kidnapping of a solider. Abu Aram and Zitun will be held under arrest until the completion of legal proceedings.