Border Guard forces in Ramallah (archive photo)
Three Hamas members were apprehended near Ramallah last month for allegedly attempting to kidnap an Israeli citizen from a hitchhiking post located at a West Bank intersection, it was approved for publication Monday.
The suspects were identified as Anas Barghouti, 20, from the village of Qubar, Omar Barghouti, 21, also of Qubar and Duad Mantzur, 23, from Bilin.
Omar Barghouti was recently released from an Israeli prison, while Mantzur was released last June.
The incident occurred on February 4, 2007, when the suspects arrived at the Eli intersection with their vehicle and attempted to kidnap the Israeli, but fled the scene after failing in their attempt.
The Israeli immediately reported the incident, and Border Guard officers apprehended the Hamas cell members at the Birzit Bridge, near Ramallah. During their investigation the suspects said they purchased a stolen vehicle and pistols and planned on hiding the Israeli in a nearby cave.
The said they intended to use him as a bargaining chip to bring about the release of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel, adding that they planned to kill him if he would try to resist.
The security establishment said that 2006 saw an increase in warnings regarding possible kidnapping attempts of Israelis. A few months ago Israeli security forces detained three Hamas members who planned to kidnap a Jewish man in the Jerusalem area.