The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), along with the IDF and the Israel Police, has exposed a terror cell that operated from the village of Hizme, north of Jerusalem, and which attempted several abductions.
The cell was uncovered in May but as is often the case with such investigations, a gag order prevented making the development public until now.
The Shin Bet says that the cell planned to abduct an IDF soldier, hold him in a secret apartment or cave near Hizme, and then hand him over – in return for money – to relatives of senior Arab terrorists who are incarcerated in Israeli jails. These people would then presumably use the abducted soldier for bargaining with Israel to release their relatives.
The cell specifically had PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat in mind as a terrorist who could go free in exchange for the soldier they would capture. Saadat is being held as the mastermind in the assassination of Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze'evi in 2001.
The cell was headed by Rajeb Salah Al-Din of Hizme, who is affiliated with the PFLP.
The terrorists planned to stop their vehicle next to a soldier and hit him with a metal pipe that they held for that purpose inside their car. In addition, they planned to use plastic handcuffs they had in the car, and a piece of cloth with which they intended to cover his face.
The Shin Bet says that the terrorists made three attempts to abduct Israelis, but never passed the stage in which they cruised around looking for the right victim. They have been charged, in the Judea (Yehuda) Military Court, with three aggravated counts of attempting abduction.