Security forces uncover PFLP kidnapping plot

The terror cell planned to kidnap an Israeli to secure the release of the organization's leader Ahmed Sa'adat.

PFLP suspects 370 (photo credit: Courtesy security forces)
PFLP suspects 370
(photo credit: Courtesy security forces)
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 arrest.
“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.
Abu 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 said.
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 Ramallah.
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 forces.
“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 said.
Sa’adat became head of the PFLP in 2001, after the IDF killed his predecessor.