Cleared for publication Tuesday: Three Palestinian members of a Hamas cell, who planned to kidnap a Jewish victim in the Jerusalem area, were arrested last month by the Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces and the Jerusalem Police.
The defense establishment reported that the three were in advanced stages of planning a kidnapping in Israel, pursuant to which they planned to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel.
The investigation of the cell leader, Faras Awad al-Fatah Quasma, 30, a Hamas operative from the Hebron area, revealed that the last time he was in prison in Israel, he made contact with an imprisoned Hamas operative from Gaza, who helped him plan the kidnapping, which they intended to carry out upon their release.
After Quasma was released from prison in May, Hamas operatives in Gaza contacted him and instructed him to try and recruit other Palestinians to help carry out the kidnapping.
Consequently, Quasma enlisted Hamza Ibrahim Musa Zaharan (26) from the area of Ramallah, who was responsible for purchasing weapons and recruiting more participants. The third cell member who was arrested was Iyad Fisel Diav Manzur (26), a resident of the same town.
As aforementioned, the cell members were arrested during advanced stages of the planning process, after they had purchased weapons and attempted to recruit other Palestinians, including a resident of Jerusalem to act as the driver.
Large sums of money and a Kalashnikov were discovered in their possession.