The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Border Police thwarted an attempt last month by an Islamic Jihad terrorist cell to kidnap an Israeli civilian or soldier for use as a bargaining chip in a future prisoner exchange.
Members of the cell were detained early on Jan. 1 near the Eyal checkpoint, east of Kfar Saba. Rope, tape, head scarves, a knife and a fake pistol were found in their vehicle.
The case was placed under a gag order, which was lifted on Sunday.
Members of the cell included two Palestinians from Jenin and an Israeli Arab from Qalansuwa.
Upon questioning, the cell members confessed to attempting several abductions at bus and train stations in the coastal and central regions of Israel over the span of two days. These attempts were foiled by the refusal of civilians and soldiers to enter their vehicle. They then planned to kidnap revelers returning from New Year's Eve celebrations, but they failed in this as well. They spent the night in their vehicle near the Eyal checkpoint and were detained early on New Year's Day. They had intended to continue their kidnapping attempts that day.
The cell members planned to transport their hostage to Jenin, where they would conduct negotiations with Israeli authorities. They intended to use the Israeli Arab's ID card to pass into Judea and Samaria from Israel.
The investigation of the plot led to the arrest of eight additional suspects in the Jenin area. An Israeli Arab from Umm al-Fahm was also arrested for hosting members of the cell at his home the night before their arrest.
On Sunday, the two detained Israeli Arabs in the case were indicted in the Central District Court in Lod for attempted kidnapping, among other charges.
The investigation is continuing.