Two Israeli Arabs, who aided an Islamic Jihad terrorist cell in an attempt to abduct IDF soldiers, signed a plea bargain with the state prosecution on Wednesday.
According to the plea deal, the main defendant will spend 10 years in prison, while his co-conspirator will be imprisoned for three years.
The two were arrested in December 2012 in a car in a joint Shin Bet-police operation close to the Eyal Junction, near Kfar Saba.
- Terrorist cell plotting to kidnap Israelis nabbed
- Palestinian indicted in Haifa court for attempted kidnapping
- Shin Bet thwarts Hamas funded attempt to kidnap soldier
A car search found ropes, scotch tape, knitted hats, a utility knife and a mock gun, said to be meant to aid in the abduction the cell planned for New Year's Eve.
According to the indictment, Yussef Hasan Yussef Warda, 34, from Qalansawe, took a loan without knowing that the loaner was a member of the Islamic Jihad.
Warda later realized the man expected a return for the money in the form of a kidnapping. "I want to bring one who is wearing army pants," the loaner told him in one of their meetings.
The Islamic Jihad cell planned to use the kidnapped soldier as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prison.
Warda, who at first refused to be a part of the plot, later became a central figure in the execution of the plan.
Warda, who had an Israeli ID and a vehicle with Israeli license plates and could move freely through Israel, was the one who drove the terrorist cell. The plan was to stop for hitchhiking soldiers, and after convincing one to enter the car, threaten him with a fake gun and tie him up.
Warda was supposed to bring the kidnapped soldier to Jenin while the second defendant, Anes Jabareen, was supposed to provide the cell with a place to stay.
The members of the terror cell stopped in many bus stops, junctions and train stations, but thanks to sheer luck, or the soldiers' discipline, they were unsuccessful in kidnapping a soldier.
In December 2012, Israeli security forces raided the vehicle and captured the terror cell members, putting an end to the plot.
Warda, the main defendant, was charged with attempted kidnapping for ransom or murder, conspiring to commit a crime, contacting a foreign agent and assisting an illegal association.
While the maximum sentencing for attempted kidnapping is 20 years, the state prosecution will ask the court to sentence Warda to only 10 years of active prison term.
For Jabareen, who was initially indicted for assisting an illegal association and attempted kidnapping for ransom or murder, the indictment was altered to failing to prevent a crime, the punishment for which is three years.
Early on, the state prosecution claimed that "there's little weight to the fact the kidnapping didn't actually happen, as it was prevented thanks to security forces and not the defendant. Additionally, the punishment for attempted kidnapping is the same as the one for an attempt that was successful."
The plea deal was signed despite these comments.
"A 10 years sentencing is proportional and is in line with the gravity of the crime," the state prosecution said.
In court, Warda asked for mercy. "I was thrown into this situation, I never meant to harm the State of Israel. On Independence Day, I'm the first one who puts an Israeli flag on his car. I ruined my own life, I fell in with those who have no mercy. I'm sorry and remorseful. Give me a chance to rehabilitate my life."
Warda's sentencing will be given at the Lod District Court on Monday.