Members of a terrorist cell located in the village of Hizme, just north of Jerusalem, planned and attempted abductions of Israeli soldiers, in hopes of using them to free Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, according to information released by Israel which was held under a gag order for months.
Shin Bet – Israel’s internal security agency – discovered the attackers and their plans in May of this year.
The plans included the abductions of Israeli soldiers waiting at bus stops, who would then be beaten, held in captivity, and then sold to relatives of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails. Authorities believe the IDF soldiers would then be used in negotiations for the release of the Palestinian prisoners.
Ahmed Sadaat, who is in jail for planning the 2001 assassination of Israel’s former Tourism Minister, Rehavim Zeevi, is believed to be one of the terrorists whose release was being sought. Sadaat was a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and according to the Israeli report, the PFLP was linked to the most recent kidnapping plans.
Since the capture of Gilad Shalit and his release in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, the IDF has issued special warnings to their personnel, noting the increased risks of being kidnapped while waiting along bus routes.
Rajeb Salah Al-Din of Hizme, who is reportedly affiliated with PFLP and lead the group who planned the attempted kidnappings, was arrested earlier this year and has been charged in an Israeli court along with the other terrorists.