Shin Bet security agency on Thursday announced that seven members of a Hamas terror cell planning shooting and kidnapping attacks were arrested in October in a joint operation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israel Police.

According to the Shin Bet, the cell operated out of the Heהron area and had been planning to carry out kidnappings “in order to bargain for the release of prisoners.”

Members of the cell are said to have observed the movements of IDF soldiers stationed near Tzurif, north of Hevron, with the intent of abducting one of them in order to secure the release of Ibrahaim Abdallah Ranimat, 58, an Arab terrorist currently serving a life sentence for his role in a number of terror attacks during the 1990’s, including the kidnapping and murder of IDF soldier Sharon Edri.

Three of the seven Arab terrorists arrested were Ranimat’s sons, Fadi Ibrahim Ranimat, Muhammad Ranimat, and Shadi Ibrahim Ranimat, the latter of which is the leader of the terror cell, the Shin Bet said.

During the operation, Israeli security forces also seized large quantities of ammunition and weapons, including two Kalashnikov rifles, two M-16 assault rifles, and three pistols, the Shin Bet said. Knives, swords, and billy clubs were also confiscated based on information obtained through interrogation of the terrorists.

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Israeli security forces also arrested J’ad Sultan, accused of supplying the terror cell with weapons, and Haitham Hamidan, who helped store weapons for the three brothers. Dura resident Rami Rajoub was arrested for plotting kidnapping attacks while imprisoned with Ranimat, the Shin Bet said.

In a statement announcing the foiled terror plot, the Shin Bet said that “the discovery of this cell points to the high motivation of Hamas operatives, both in the field and in prison, to carry out serious attacks, including shootings and kidnappings.”

The Shin Bet said it has concluded its investigation into the cell and expects indictments to be filed against the terrorists in the coming days.

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