Following Thursday’s attempted kidnapping of two Israeli teenage girls in the West Bank, IDF officials said they have received a number of warnings regarding terrorists; intent to abduct Israeli civilians.
“We once again warn citizens not to risk their lives by hitchhiking in the West Bank,” one army official said. “But we cannot enforce this,” he added.
The security establishment received dozens of warnings regarding possible attempt to carry out terror attacks against Israel, 15 of them concrete. Some warnings pertain to possible attempts to kidnap Israeli civilians or soldiers.
Most of the warnings relate to Islamic Jihad’s activity in the West Bank.
Binyamin Brigade Commander Colonel Amir Abulafia, told Ynet following the attempted kidnapping, “the terrorists arte trying to take advantage of our weak spots, and one of these weak spots is hitchhikers; the terror groups are highly motivated to kidnap soldiers and civilians, and the settlers are acting very irresponsibly in this regard. Thursday’s event ended the way it did due to the quick response and more than a little luck.”
'Citizens must heed our warning'
Despite IDF recommendations, settlers continue to hitchhike, as it is the easiest and fastest way to get around in the West Bank.
Last Sunday American student Benjamin Bright-Fishbein was snatched by gunmen in Nablus. He was later transferred to the Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Service, and then handed over to Israel at the Hawara checkpoint.
“Terror groups are trying to kidnap Israelis and are taking advantage of the fact that civilians are entering zones A and B and are hitchhiking in the West Bank,” a security establishment source said.
“The citizens must heed our warning and refrain from hitchhiking,” he said.