Hamas kidnapping, terror plot thwarted; 9 arrested

Hamas operatives in village near Jerusalem planned to kidnap IDF soldier, carry out shooting attacks against Israeli civilians.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s security and intelligence agencies arrested nine Palestinians from PA-controlled enclaves in Samaria for their roles in a thwarted terror plot, which included plans to kidnap an Israeli soldier and carry out shooting attacks.

The nine men, who authorities say are all affiliated with the Hamas terror group, were arrested in July, but a gag order barring media reports on the case was lifted Monday.

All of those detained are residents of the PA town of Biddu, which is approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) northwest of Jerusalem’s municipal borders.

According to a statement from the Shin Bet, the Hamas operatives had engaged in months of preparation before the attack was foiled.

The suspects established a bomb laboratory, created explosive devices and readied them for use, and conducted “intelligence gathering tours” of the Binyamin region in order to better understand soldiers’ routines and patterns of movements in the area.

They also selected a secure location in which to hide the kidnapped soldier, authorities said.

Beyond the kidnapping, which would likely see demands for the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the soldier, the members of the Hamas cell were planning a series of attacks on Israeli civilians.

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Raw materials, including explosive substances and pipes, along with submachine guns, were seized from the cell’s laboratory.

Additionally, maps marked with potential attack sites and escape routes were discovered.

“Together with the IDF and the Israel Police, we will continue to work even harder to thwart any attempt by terrorist elements outside to promote terrorist activity against the State of Israel and to bring those involved to justice,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

The thwarted plot underscores the Gaza-based Hamas terror group’s increasing presence in Judea and Samaria. As the Palestinian Authority’s control over Arab enclaves in the region continues to weaken, security officials have expressed concerns that Hamas’s position in the area will be strengthened.