Muad Ashtiya, a Hamas operative from the village of Tell in the Shechem Governorate, considered kidnapping and murdering Likud MK Yehuda Glick or Major Avichai Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic spokesperson, according to an indictment submitted against him at the Ofer military court Wednesday morning.
According to the indictment, Ashtiya gathered intelligence on the two on the internet, before eventually deciding that it would be easier to kidnap a settler or a soldier from a bus stop or hitchhiking station near Shechem.
According to details of the plot revealed by The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) last week, Ashtiya headed a three-man cell that had planned to execute the plot over Chanukah.
The Shin Bet said Ashtia had purchased weapons and recruited two other suspects from the village of Tell, Mahmad Ramadan and Ahmed Ramadan.
The cell members were in contact with Omar Atzida, a Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip who is engaged in planning and financing attacks in Yehudah and Shomron. The Shin Bet said the Hamas leadership in Gaza has been actively involved in financing and planning the plot, which it said was aimed at gaining leverage to free security prisoners currently jailed in Israel.
The members of the cell conducted reconnaissance on bus stops and hiking stations and had planned to dress as settlers in order to tempt a victim to get into their car. Ashtiya, the head of the cell, had also inquired about safe houses in the Shechem area where they would be able to hide the victim and conduct negotiations with the Israeli authorities.
The Shin Bet said it had recovered a number of weapons purchased by the cell members to use in the kidnapping, including a pistol, an electric shocker and pepper spray. The cell had also planned to purchase additional weapons, the Shin Bet said.
In October 2014, Mutaz Hijazi, a Palestinian from east Yerushalayim, shot Glick outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in the West of the city, causing him severe injuries. Glick became a Likud MK in May 2016.