(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Five Palestinian security prisoners were indicted Monday for plotting the abduction of Israeli soldiers with aim of using them as bargaining chips to ensure the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
The Offer Prison in Israel. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The five were arraigned before the Beersheba District Court on multiple conspiracy charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, and were also charged with affiliation with a terror organization, aiding and abetting an enemy agent and contacting a foreign agent.
According to the Southern District Prosecution, the conspiracy first began taking shape in 2007, when Haytham Salahiah, a security prisoner serving two consecutive life sentences, began conspiring with four other prisoners held in the maximum security Eshel, Shikma and Nafha prisons to kidnap an Israeli soldier or soldiers.
Salahiah, named in the indictment as the mastermind, allegedly used media reports to gather intelligence and plan the abduction, which was outlined in great detail in notebooks found in his cell.
The indictment stated that evidence suggested the abduction was to be funded by Hamas, which was supposed to supply its operatives — security prisoners released from Israeli prisons — with cash, weapons and cellular phones to facilitate the plot’s execution. Had the plan succeeded, the kidnapped soldier was to have been transferred to the Gaza Strip immediately.
The five planned to demand the release of 477 Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for the return of any Israeli.