PA soccer star, Red Crescent workers part of terror cell

Shin Bet arrests 13 suspected terrorists, allegedly planning attacks against IDF troops near Ramallah.

Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances [file] 390 (R) (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances [file] 390 (R)
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed on Monday that it had arrested 13 Palestinians for plotting a series of attacks against IDF troops near Ramallah. The detainees include two employees of the Palestinian Red Crescent, the goalie for the Palestinian Olympic soccer team and a senior intelligence officer in the Palestinian Authority.
The Shin Bet said the group was part of a terror cell operating out of the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah and had opened fire at an army unit on January 20. The shooting was the first in the area in four years and prompted a massive IDF manhunt.
The senior PA intelligence officer, who is also in charge of security at the Red Crescent headquarters in Ramallah, allegedly provided the Kalashnikov assault rifles used in the attack.
Among those arrested was Omar Abu Rwayyis, the Palestinian Olympic soccer team’s goalie, according to the Shin Bet, and a Red Crescent employee. Two other men being held were also employed by the Red Crescent and worked as guards outside the organization’s headquarters.
Fuad Usha, the owner of a Ramallah barber shop who is currently in PA custody, served as a lookout in the attack, the Shin Bet said.
“The attackers took advantage of their status as Red Crescent employees to perpetrate the attack against IDF soldiers in January,” a senior officer from the Central Command said on Monday.
One of the cell members, the officer said, had taken up a position on the top floor of the Red Crescent office building in Ramallah and served as the lookout on the night of the attack. Abu Rwayyis and another employee left the building with their rifles and once the IDF unit passed by opened fire.
“Weapons are not allowed inside the Red Crescent building but the cell used it to launch their attack from inside,” the officer said.
Following the incident, the shooters left the assault rifles in a bag inside an abandoned home and planned to move them to a new hideout the next day, but some of the cell members had already been arrested and their plan was thwarted.
The Shin Bet said the cell members were planning additional attacks against IDF troops near the Atarot checkpoint, as well as in Ma’aleh Adumim and the settlement of Ofra. They also allegedly planned to abduct an IDF soldier.