Security Forces Break Up Jihadist Cell

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israeli security forces broke up an Islamic Jihad cell conspiring to kidnap an Israeli soldier or civilian, Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Although the arrests were made last month, a gag order on the case was not lifted until Sunday.

A Shin Bet investigation revealed that the three suspects, two from Jenin and a third from Tira, planned to smuggle an abductee into Jenin to be ransomed for Palestinian security prisoners held in Israel.

Detectives from a special police unit found a number of items they believe were to be used in an abduction: a ski cap, handcuffs, duct tape, a toy gun, and a utility knife.

The suspects confessed to having scouted local hitchhiking points in the days prior, with the intention of finding a soldier to kidnap. The three offered a group of soldiers and civilians a ride, but b’chasdei Hashem, they refused.

They are being charged with suspicion of making contact with a foreign agent and terror group, and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Eight other Palestinians from Jenin have also been arrested for allegedly knowing of the abduction plot.

The defense establishment learned of the cell’s existence after hearing of a different plot to kidnap a soldier, which turned out to be false. It was during the investigation of that erroneous report, which included the stationing of troops at roadblocks, that details of this case came to light.

The Shin Bet has uncovered in recent months several attempts to abduct Israeli civilians, but all of them were thwarted.