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Israel tells of kidnap plot; many arrested

JERUSALEM, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Israel arrested 25 Palestinians in Ramallah, Qalqilya, Nablus and Hebron in the West Bank, including four Hamas legislators, a Palestinian official said.

Details of why the people were arrested were not released by the Israeli army, but the arrests followed a Shin Bet security agency announcement of the recent arrests of members of an Islamic Jihad cell operating in the West Bank that investigators said planned to abduct an Israeli civilian or soldier.

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An Israeli military source warned Monday additional arrests would be made, Israel Radio reported.

Nine of those arrested in the pre-dawn raids Monday in Nablus are senior Hamas officials, Palestinian sources told Ynetnews.com.

Three of the parliamentary members were identified as Hatem Qafisheh and Mohammed al-Tal, who were arrested in Hebron and Ahmed Atun,detained in Ramallah. Another parliamentary member was arrested in Qalqilya, the website said

Israeli military sources said Hamas is attempting to rebuild its infrastructure in the Fatah-dominated West Bank as a means of leveraging advantages it allegedly gained over Israel during the Israeli military Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in November last year, Ynetnews.com said.

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Shin Bet officials said the Islamic Jihad cell members planned to abduct an Israeli, hide the person in a safe-house in Jenin and use the kidnapping as a negotiating chip to obtain the release of Palestinian security prisoners jailed in Israel.

Two cell members, Israeli Arabs, were identified as Yusef Warda, 34, of Tira and Anes Jabareen, 19, of Umm al-Fahm. Two others, Said Jasser, 19, and Tawfik Ajbarieh, 18, are from Jenin.

Three of the cell members were arrested in the early hours of Jan.1 near Kfar Saba. Israeli security officials found duct tape, knitted ski hats, a utility knife, rope and mock gun in the car they planned to use in the abduction, the Shin Bet said.

Cell members revealed they had attempted several times to lure soldiers into their car, but were unsuccessful, investigators said.

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