Security forces have uncovered a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
terrorist cell in the West Bank that they say was plotting to kidnap an Israeli
to trade for the organization’s leader, Ahmed Sa’adat.
Sa’adat is serving
a 30-year jail sentence in Israel for organizing the assassination of former
tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in Jerusalem in 2001.
The terrorist cell
was spread out over Ramallah and villages in the West Bank’s Binyamin area,
security forces announced on Tuesday, adding that several suspects were under
“Some of the members admitted to planning a kidnapping,” the Shin
Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.
The agency named Ashraf Abu Aram, 26,
and Muhammad Zeitoun, 26 – both from Ramallah – as the main suspects.
Aram allegedly founded the cell.
“Abu Aram got in touch with a weapons
dealer to try and obtain two handguns and an automatic rifle,” the Shin Bet
According to the agency, the suspects weighed carrying out a
combined shooting and kidnapping attack on IDF soldiers, with the shooting
designed to create a distraction. A second plan involved kidnapping an Israeli
hitchhiker from the Jit junction in Samaria. The hostage would have been taken
in a van to a hideout apartment in Kafr Akab, on the outskirts of
Both men have been charged with conspiracy to kidnap a soldier
and a host of other security charges.
Two additional suspects affiliated
with the PFLP have been arrested for plotting disturbances against security
“The uncovering [of the plot] illustrates the high motivation of
terrorist organizations to carry out a kidnapping, with a special emphasis on
the PFLP, whose members have been involved in a number of plots in the past year
and who have tried to carry out kidnappings in the West Bank,” the Shin Bet
Sa’adat became head of the PFLP in 2001, after the IDF killed his
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