In December security forces thwarted an attempt to kidnap a soldier in order to use him as a bargaining chip, it was cleared for publication Thursday.
As part of a joint IDF-Shin Bet operation, carried out during the negotiations for the return of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, two Hamas members were arrested on the Israel-Gaza border while trying to smuggle explosives, counterfeit money, a pistol and a silencer into Israel.
One of the terrorists planned to kidnap an Israeli soldier while the other was caught in possession of two explosive devices, which he planned to plant in crowded locations inside Israel.
Salman Abu Atik was apprehended by an IDF force on December 12, 2009 while he was trying to infiltrate Israel along with four other Palestinians. The 43-year-old Hamas man was in possession of $15,000 in counterfeit bills when he was nabbed. A day later, soldiers found a silencer that Abu Atik also tried to smuggle into Israel, and he later turned in a gun he had tried to smuggle as well.
During his interrogation, Abu Atik admitted that he wanted to kidnap and then murder an Israeli soldier in order to use him as a bargaining chip during negotiations on a prisoner swap. He said another Hamas member, Ibrahim Zuara, was supposed to infiltrate Israel with two explosives devices and assist him in the operation.
Zuara was arrested on December 31 while in possession of the explosives. He told investigators that he had planned to plant the devices in crowded locations in Israel within 10 days of his entry to Israel. He also admitted that he was supposed to help Abu Atik kidnap and murder an Israeli soldier on Hamas' behalf.
Abu Atik was recently indicted for attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, infiltration, illegal military training, weapons violations and contacting a foreign agent. Zuara was charged with attempted murder, attempted kidnapping with the intent to murder and extort, weapons violations and other offenses.