IDF soldiers
IDF soldiersIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The IDF and security officials have caught two Bethlehem area terrorist gangs who planned to murder IDF soldiers and Jews who ride all-terrain vehicles in the area of Gush Etzion, located immediately south of Jerusalem.

They also planned to murder an Arab who cooperates with Israeli security officials.

One of the gangs was caught in September, but a gag order was clamped on the arrests until Wednesday while the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the IDF completed their investigation.

The gangs comprised terrorists ages 18-22, and their modus operandi was to organize riots and then shoot with rifles or throw firebombs at soldiers who arrive on the scene.

The first gang was arrested after its members shot at a Border Patrol jeep two months ago. They also planted a bomb on the path where IDF vehicles patrol near the security fence. No one was injured in the attacks.

After initial questioning of the terrorists, security personnel discovered that they operated as an arm of a local terror group. Senior military officials have claimed the past year that many terrorist attacks are carried out without links to an organized cell.