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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
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The Terrorist Cell that Couldn’t Shoot Straight

Palestinian terrorists who were picked up by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) arrive at the Jerusalem District Court (illustration image).

Palestinian terrorists who were picked up by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) arrive at the Jerusalem District Court (illustration image).
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Today’s’ revelation by Israel’s security forces, about a Palestinian terrorist cell comprised of nine Arabs from the Ramallah area who were recently indicted on several failed abduction attempts of Israeli civilians in the Benjamin region of Judea and Samaria last March, is reminiscent of Jimmy Breslin’s comic novel “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”

The terrorist cell in question attempted several violent kidnappings of Israeli civilians. The idea was to repeat the Gilad Shalit successful abduction which led, eventually, to the release of 1,027 Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails. But this cell was unable to execute even one successful abduction and was eventually rounded up by a joint Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), IDF, and Israeli Police operation.

The terrorist gang was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and their preparations for the abduction attempts included obtaining electric tasers, tear gas, clubs, and a cigarette lighter in the shape of a very realistic pistol.

The gang used rental cars in their operations.

The cell used lookouts that alerted them when Israeli vehicles were approaching. The civilians they planned to kidnap were going to be hidden in a cave or in a secret apartment in Ramallah. They even planned to film the abduction and post the video on You Tube, to advance the negotiations over the hostage’s release.

On March 11, 2012, The terrorists attacked an Israeli driver near the Beit Aryeh community in Judea and Samaria. The terrorists blocked the road and attempted to pull the driver out of his vehicle, but he managed to escape.

The next day, March 12, the terrorist cell attacked a female Israeli driver near the Ma’ale Levona community in Judea and Samaria. They blocked the road and tried to shatter the vehicle’s windshields using heavy objects, but the driver was able to escape.

On March 15, the terrorists attacked another female Israeli driver, who was riding with her baby daughter, around midnight, near the Beit El community. The terrorists were able to block the vehicle and even managed this time to shatter its windshield using heavy objects, but were chased from the scene by the appearance of another Israeli vehicle.

The terrorists are associated with several other abduction attempts. Last March, they tried to pick up two Israeli civilians who were soliciting a lift from a gas station. The hapless squad stopped next to the pair and one of the Israelis almost got on, but his friend became suspicious and pulled him away at the last minute.

“The arrest of this terrorist cell enabled security forces to thwart all their remaining planned attacks as well as any additional terrorist and kidnapping attempts,” says an IDF Spokesperson’s Office press release.

During the first half of May, 2012, the Judea military court received indictments against the cell’s leader, Mahmed Ramdan, and against his cohorts, all of whom were charged with kidnapping attempts.

The ISA stressed that this case “shows the ambition of terror organization to kidnap Israelis” and the threat they pose to peaceful civilians.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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