New data released by the IDF's Operations Directorate on Wednesday revealed a disconcerting increase in attempts made by terror groups to abduct soldiers.
According to a report by the IDF's magazine Bamahane ("on base") 26 attempts to kidnap soldiers were made in 2012 – more than double the amount recorded in 2011, which came at 11.
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All 26 attempts – which took place in Israel and the West Bank – were thwarted.
The IDF attributed the rise to the Palestinians' success in brokering the Shalit deal, which saw 1,027 prisoners released in exchange for the then-Hamas-held soldier.
Gaza's terror groups have developed "an appetite" for prisoner exchange deals, a military source said.
The increase has also been attributed to the growing unrest in the West Bank since the Palestinian Authority's status upgrade at the UN; as well as to the agitation felt on the ground over the Palestinian security prisoners' hunger strike.
IDF orders, as well as other security forces and agencies in Israel, prohibit servicemen from hitchhiking – a known abduction method among terror groups.
In recent years, the military and the Shin Bet have increased enforcement of their hitchhiking regulations. The IDF is also running an ongoing awareness campaign to that effect.
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