Foiled: Plans To Hijack A Bus

Terrorists employed by the Palestinian Authority, and members of PLO leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization, were planning to hijack two passenger buses yesterday (Wednesday) and kidnap the passengers to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

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, | updated: 16:00

The two Fatah terrorists - taken into custody for allegedly masterminding the Jerusalem number 19 bus and 14 bus suicide bombing attacks that claimed a combined 19 lives - were apprehended by Israeli security forces.

The hijackers - Izzadin Hammrah, 26, a legal advisor to PA special forces, and Abed el-Rahman Mukdad, 28, responsible for PA communications - were going to coordinate their actions via cellular telephones. In that way, if one of them was eliminated by Israeli sniper fire, the second hijacker would have the opportunity to detonate his bomb vest and kill the bus passengers.

The terrorists planned to conduct negotiations towards the release of terrorists from Israeli prisons in exchange for the hostages, the bus passengers. The hijackers were going to board crowded buses and show the driver their bomb vests, compelling him to abide by their instructions. One of the buses was to have been overtaken between Efrat and Jerusalem, in proximity to Bethlehem.