Top (left to right): Anes Jabareen and Sayd Jasser. Bottom (left to right): Yussef Warda and Taufik Ajbarieh.
On Feb. 5, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official in Gaza said that Palestinians need a “united military strategy … to abduct Israeli soldiers and exchange them with Palestinian prisoners.”
Following their arrest on Jan. 1, the members of the Islamic Jihad cell (Anes Jabareen, Sayd Jasser, Yussef Warda and Taufik Ajbarieh) confessed to having plotted to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians. According to Ynet, the cell members “received their instructions from two Islamic Jihad operatives, one of whom is a prisoner in an Israeli jail.” At least two members of the cell were Israeli citizens, Haaretz reported.
The news of the breakup of the Islamic Jihad cell was preceded by an announcement on Jan. 31 that Israeli authorities had arrested approximately 20 Hamas terrorists, who were trying “to establish a local headquarters in Hebron” and were “planning to kidnap an IDF soldier.” The cell was “assisted by Hamas operatives abroad, who provided them with guidance and funding,” Israeli authorities said.
The “primary contact person abroad” for the Hamas cell was said to be Husam Badran, who was released in October 2011 in the first part of the exchange for Gilad Shalit. Badran, who had been serving a 17-year sentence, was exiled to Qatar as part of the Shalit deal. Badran is an arch-terrorist known to have “led and directed the execution of Hamas military operations, received and delivered funds used for the making of explosive devices for terror attacks, and sent suicide bombers to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets in Israel and the territories,” the Israeli Defense Forces stated.
Kidnapping operations are a grave concern for Israeli authorities. According to the Shin Bet, one-third of the approximately 100 “significant attacks” it thwarted in 2012 were kidnapping attempts.