The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has apprehended a Palestinian terror cell from the Ramallah area which tried kidnapping a number of Israelis in the West Bank throughout March.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority have arrested nine youths, members of a cell led by Mahmad Ramdan, 22.

They are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

According to the Shin Bet, the cell members rented a car in March and traveled throughout the West Bank, where they tried unsuccessfully to kidnap a soldier.

On March 11, the cell members attacked an Israeli driver near Kiryat Sefer, blocking his car on the road and trying to pull him from the vehicle. A day later, they attacked another driver near the settlement of Ma’aleh Levona. They blocked the driver’s car and smashed the car’s windows, but fled the scene after they spotted another car approaching.

On March 15, the cell tried again and attacked a woman who was driving with her baby close to midnight near the settlement of Beit El. The cell members blocked the road and smashed the windshield, but fled after another car appeared nearby.

The cell members obtained a taser, tear gas, and a lighter that looked like a gun, and planned to hide the kidnapped Israeli in a cave or an apartment near Ramallah.

They then planned to film the abductee and post the video on the Internet with a demand to release Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Also Sunday, a Palestinian was seriously wounded in a failed stabbing attack near the Gush Etzion Junction in the West Bank. The IDF said that the man had approached soldiers with a knife, and when he attacked one of the soldiers, he accidentally stabbed himself.

In 2011, the IDF recorded around 20 attempts to kidnap soldiers in the West Bank.

Senior officers have said that the increase in motivation was connected to the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap in October.

Earlier this month, the IDF launched a media campaign aimed at preventing soldiers from hitchhiking, based on fears that Palestinian terror groups were more motivated than ever to abduct soldiers.

Under the slogan, “Don’t catch a ride. The ride might catch you,” the IDF’s campaign appears on billboards at train and bus stations and on popular websites.

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