VIDEO - A source at the Popular Resistance Committees told the French news agency AFP in a phone conversation Monday that the soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped from his army post on Sunday, is being held by the organization and that he is alive and well. The anonymous caller did not give any other details regarding Shalit's whereabouts.
However, the group later issued an official statements denying it was behind the kidnapping.
As Israel attempts to follow the tracks of kidnapped soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit, two routes are being followed by security and political branches: The intelligence path, being followed by all intelligence agencies, and current intelligence gathering means – and the diplomatic path, via cooperation with international sources.
A wide-scale military response to the Palestinian attack, preparations for which have been approved by a special cabinet meeting, are currently on hold, due to fears for the soldier's wellbeing. The IDF chief of staff, Fan Halutz, said Sunday that "Hamas is fully involved in this operation," and on Monday a senior security source in Israel said that "the Hamas government will cease to exist" if Gilad Shalit, the soldier kidnapped by terrorists in the IDF army post, is not returned alive.
The Popular Resistance Committees organization is mainly behind the attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing.
London-based Arabic al-Hayat newspaper reported that the organization's commander, Jamal Abu Samhadana, assassinated two weeks ago in an Israeli aerial attack, personally planned the operation.
According to the report, members of the organization decided to put into action Abu Samhadana's plan as revenge for his assassination, and for the killing of the Popular Front's military wing commander.
On the ground, efforts by an Egyptian delegation to make indirect contact with the soldier's kidnappers continue.
On Sunday, Hamas sources and other organizations said that the soldier was injured and was being treated, so that he could be used as a trading card in a future deal for exchanging prisoners.
A Hamas spokesman turned to the kidnappers during a press conference, in which he spoke in Hebrew, and urged them to safeguard the condition of the kidnapped soldier, "if there really is one."
'Wait and hope'
At the home of Corporal Shalit, in Mitzpe Hila in the western Galilee, family members go between hope and fear.
They were briefed on Sunday by Major General Elazar Stern, Head of the Personnel Directorate, who said that according to all of the intelligence in the hands of the security forces – their son left the army post "on his legs, against his will."
The family is being accompanied by representatives of the security forces, who are updating them on developments.
Kidnapped soldier's grandfather meets with Chief Rabbi Metzger (Photo: Hagai Aharon)
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger visited the family Sunday evening in a show of support.
Grandfather Tzvi Shalit, who lost one of his sons (the uncle of the kidnapped soldier) in the Yom Kippur war, said at the end of the rabbi's visit: "We must wait and hope. Gilad is a dear grandchild who was well received in the division in which he served. The family is sitting here together, and hopes that everything will end well. We are coping with the situation, this happened to a few families already in the country, we believe and hope all of the time only for good."
Ali Waked Hanan Greenberg, Roee Nahmias, and Hagai Einav contributed to this report