The past several months saw nearly a dozen plans to kidnap IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens, most of them coordinated by Palestinian prisoners, the Shin Bet said Sunday.
The national security agency, in conjunction with the Israel Prison Service, thwarted 11 kidnapping attempts since September 2013, it said.
Of the foiled attempts, “the majority were driven by prisoners in order to use as a bargaining chip for their release.” Half of the attempts were done by Fatah operatives, and half by inmates affiliated with Hamas or other Islamist organizations.
On May 22, the Shin Bet security service and police arrested a former Palestinian security prisoner who allegedly plotted to kidnap an Israeli citizen in the northern town of Avtalion.
The former prisoner is also suspected of attempting to carry out several attacks on civilians in the Misgav regional council and planning to set fire to a forest near Carmiel in northern Israel.
According to a Shin Bet statement, Murad Mahmoud Hassan Ali Hassin, 25, admitted he had entered a home in Avtalion on April 19 armed with a knife, in an attempt to kidnap one of the household’s members.
Hassin said he planned to use the kidnapped individual as a bargaining chip for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
His attempt proved unsuccessful as he was chased out by the owner of the home.
In a separate case, indictments were filed against a Palestinian imprisoned in Israel and five of his family members on May 11. According to the charge sheet, Abdel Rahman Othman, a Fatah member, and his family members plotted to kidnap an IDF soldier, hide him in a secret location, and bargain for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, Othman, along with two other men, began planning the attack in 2012 and worked to raise the funds to carry it out. The plot was planned for April, but it was not clear from media reports when the men were rounded up.
Othman and his comrades hatched the plot through cellphones and secret missives smuggled into prison by family members.