The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) issued a statement Monday regarding the arrest of a cell of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, alleged to be planning shooting attacks on Israeli targets in east Jerusalem and on Route 443 as well as the abduction of an IDF soldier.
The security agency said that during a joint operation with the IDF and Israel Police they uncovered an armed PFLP cell who plotted to carry out shooting attacks on IDF checkpoints in the West Bank.
The cell included 40-yearold Salam Badi Salam Dirdisawi and Jassan Kraza of Ramallah, Ahmed Muhammed Diab Sheikh, 30 and Yosef Ahmed Muhammed Elian, 32, of Anata, and 32-year-old Jisan Husam Hasan Karaja, of Tzafa in the West Bank.
Three of the accused have been imprisoned in the past, said the Shin Bet.
The security agency said that while recently in prison Sheikh recruited people to join the PFLP, and after his release he joined last year’s hunger strikes held by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, during which he met Dirdisawi and Elian.
The Shin Bet said Elian confessed during questioning to being a security guard in the PA presidential guard, and that the cell planned to use his service weapons to carry out the attacks. These weapons included an M-16, a Kalashnikov, an MP5 submachine gun, and a Glock pistol.
The Shin Bet statement said that one purpose of the cell’s activities, which began in April 2012, was to try to broker an exchange to free Palestinian prisoners, chiefly Ahmed Sa’adat, the PFLP’s secretary-general.
In 2006, Sa’adat was indicted in a military court on 19 terrorism-related charges. The charges against Sa’adat included overseeing the PFLP’s terrorist operations, membership in an illegal organization, arms dealing and incitement.
Sa’adat was also held responsible for the murder of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in Jerusalem’s Hyatt Hotel on October 17, 2001.
The cell’s other goal was revenge for the death of a Palestinian prisoner during the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike.
The agency said that indictments for conspiracy to carry out a shooting attack and possession of ammunition have been issued against the four men by the Judea and Samaria military court, and that the court ordered that all of them be jailed until the end of legal proceedings against them.
The statement said that although the terrorists were suspected of planning shooting and kidnapping attacks, they were indicted only for conspiracy to plan shooting attacks and illegal possession of weapons.
The submission of the attempted shooting and illegal weapons possession allegations without the attempted kidnapping allegations could be a sign that the evidence was believed to be stronger on those counts or that the evidence for kidnapping was based more on classified sources, among other reasons.
The military court ordered all of the accused to be held in custody until the end of the proceedings.