Gang releases kidnapped Israeli medical students in Turkey

Kidnappers reportedly threatened to sell the 2 students - who were originally from the Beduin town of Rahat - to ISIS if their families failed to pay ransom.

May 1, 2016 09:48
1 minute read.
Red CrescentTurkey

Red Crescent ambulances in Turkey. (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)

Two medical students from the Beduin city of Rahat, near Beersheba, were released on Saturday night after being kidnapped by a gang in Turkey.

The families of Saleh Muhammad Katnani and Saher Ibrahim Katnani, who have been studying in Armenia, were asked to pay a ransom for the release of the young men.

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According to reports, the kidnappers threatened to sell the students to Islamic State and send the young men to Syria if their families failed to pay the ransom.

The unknown gang members who kidnapped the pair initially sought a ransom of $170,000, and later agreed to reduce the demand to $30,000.

The two young Israeli men apparently arrived in Turkey last Thursday to buy gold.

After their release on Saturday night, the two were taken to a police station in the southern Turkish city of Mersin where representatives from the Israeli Consulate arrived to meet them.

Family members of the released students told The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister publication Maariv on Saturday that they had been aware of the matter for three days while the Foreign Ministry and Israel Police worked on it.

The incident came after the Foreign Ministry confirmed last Saturday that two Israeli medical students were killed, and two others were injured in a car accident in the eastern Romanian city of Piatra Neamt.

The victims were been named as Tawfiq al-Kareenawi, a third-year medical student from Rahat, and Diaa Zabida, 22, from Lod. Another Israeli medical student from Rahat, Mamoun Jabour, was seriously injured in the accident.

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