Israeli forces bust Hamas cell that planned abduction and murder attack

Israeli security forces have again succeeded in thwarting a broad Palestinian plot to harm Israeli citizens. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Israeli security forces were successful in thwarting a plot by a Hamas terror cell operating in the Jerusalem area to kidnap and murder Israeli citizens, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) announced Thursday.

Inspired by the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014, just prior to Operation Protective Edge, the cell comprised of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem’s Old City and Hebron planned to kidnap an Israeli and then negotiate for the release of Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli jails in exchange for letting him free.

The six member cell was arrested in a joint operation last month.

They revealed during their questioning that they had met over the course of the past year and had begun planning the terror attack, and had already chosen a hiding place for the abductee.

The cell also worked on preparing explosive devices to be used in the terror attacks.

Three of the accused terrorists were named.

Ziad Abu Haduan, 20, a resident of Jerusalem’s Old City, who commanded the cell, had been previously jailed in Israel for committing violent actions in the Temple Mount vicinity.

Maher Kawasme, 36, a resident of Hebron, had also served time for planning attacks on Hamas’ behalf.

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Amer Rajbi, 22, of Jerusalem’s Old City, was to be the driver for the abducting team because of his good command of Hebrew.

“This incident again underscores Hamas’ aspirations to execute severe terror attacks… to incite the current wave of terror and turn it into a violent intifada [uprising],” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

It also stressed the threat posed by Hamas’ recruitment of Arabs with Israeli citizenship, who enjoy more maneuverability and access to the Israeli population.