The IDF and the Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency, have arrested close to two
dozen Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) operatives who were
running a number of terror cells near Jerusalem and planning to kidnap soldiers
and perpetrate other terror attacks against Israel, it was released for
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Some of the operatives, the Shin Bet said, were
Arabs from eastern Jerusalem in possession of Israeli identity cards enabling
them to travel freely throughout the country.
Over 20 suspects have been
arrested in recent weeks, the Shin Bet said, including a number who have
significant military experience and have been in Israeli prisons
One of the alleged leaders of the group was Nasser Abu- Khadir, a
50-year-old resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem.
Khadir was seriously injured when an explosive he was building blew up in his
hands. In 1988, he was released from prison and continued to engage in
anti-Israel terrorist activity, for which he was arrested a number of additional
times over the years.
The Shin Bet said Khadir told his interrogators he
was responsible for establishing the terrorist infrastructure based in Jerusalem
and Ramallah, and was in touch with PFLP leadership in Damascus, which was
supposed to provide financial and logistical assistance as well as overseas
military training for Israel-based operatives.
instructed other members of the cells to purchase pistols and silencers, and
surrendered a weapon that he had already obtained following his
Another senior operative was Walid Habas, 31, from Kfar Akab in
Habas was released from an Israeli prison in 2007
after serving a four-year sentence for his involvement in the attempted lynching
of an IDF soldier near Ramallah in 1998.
Habas allegedly recruited new
operatives into PFLP ranks and worked with Khadir to purchase weaponry. The Shin
Bet said he told interrogators he had discussed the possibility of training in
Iran with Khadir.
A cell run by Habas was allegedly planning to kidnap an
IDF soldier, a number of shooting attacks at soldiers and settlers in the
Ramallah area and a bomb attack in Jerusalem. One target considered for the
attack was a hotel near the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
cell, the Shin Bet said, was in the midst of working to obtain explosives as
well as a cellphone that was to serve as the detonator. The cell members were
also planning to murder a Palestinian they suspected of serving as a
collaborator with Israeli security services.
Another operative, named
Fares Barghouti, was in Israeli prisons between 2001 and 2005 and was released
as part of an Israeli gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
He was arrested a year later for involvement in the outlawed PFLP and was
enlisted into the new terror cells in 2010.
Other cell members were
responsible for locating apartments that could be used as headquarters for the
cell and as a base for operations and for obtaining false Israeli identity cards
that could be used to enter Israel.