Shin Bet uncovers prisoner plot to kidnap Israelis

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails hatched plan with former prisoners to kidnap Israelis as bargaining chips for their release.

Palestinian PFLP terrorists with guns in Nablus 311 (R) (photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters)
Palestinian PFLP terrorists with guns in Nablus 311 (R)
(photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has uncovered a plot by jailed Palestinians to kidnap an Israeli citizen and use him or her as a bargaining chip in securing their release.
The Shin Bet noted that the revelation came just weeks after Israel had reached an agreement with Palestinian prisoners ending a twomonth- long hunger strike, in which the prisoners had pledged to refrain from engaging in anti-Israel terror activity.
The Shin Bet said that the cell operated as part of a terrorist group called the “Holy Freedom Fighters,” which split off from Fatah’s Al-Aksa Brigades in 2007.
The group has been involved in the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel as well as a number of roadside bomb attacks against IDF troops patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip. The Shin Bet said the group also served as something of a proxy for Hamas, which provides it with financial and logistic support.
According to the security agency, the cell consisted of five Palestinians, including three currently serving sentences in Israel prisons. One of them, Ibrahim Animat, a 34-year-old originally from the Hebron area, is serving a life sentence in Shikma Prison for the rape and murder of an Israeli woman near Beit Shemesh in 2010.
The Shin Bet said that Animat served as the liaison between cell members from the Gaza Strip and cell members from the West Bank.
It also said the cell members initiated the plot while serving time together in Shikma. After one of the members, Ramsi Arar, was released from prison, he remained in contact with the other members and plotted the kidnapping, which was supposed to take place in the coming weeks.
Last week, the Shin Bet revealed that it had arrested a number of Hamas operatives who were plotting the kidnapping of an Israeli citizen or soldier from the settlement of Kiryat Arba.
In 2011, the IDF recorded around 20 attempts to kidnap soldiers in the West Bank.
Senior officers have said that the increase in motivation was connected to the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap in October.
Earlier this month, the IDF launched a media campaign aimed at preventing soldiers from hitchhiking, based on fears that Palestinian terror groups were more motivated than ever to abduct soldiers.
Under the slogan, “Don’t catch a ride. The ride might catch you,” the IDF’s campaign appears on billboards at train and bus stations and on popular websites.