IDF: Soldier kidnapping threat up since Schalit deal

“The motivation to kidnap a soldier or civilian has always been high and now there might be more,” Kahane said.

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February 12, 2012 03:59
1 minute read.
Hamas escorts Gilad Schalit out of captivity

Schalit with Hamas 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Motivation among Palestinian terrorist groups to abduct an IDF soldier or Israeli civilian in the West Bank has increased since Israel conducted a prisoner swap with Hamas for Gilad Schalit four months ago, Ephraim Brigade commander Col. Ran Kahane said on Friday.

Last week, Kahane’s brigade held an exercise aimed at preparing for a wide range of scenarios, including a possible outbreak of violence similar to the eruption of the second intifada in 2000. The scenarios simulated by the brigade also included violent attacks by Jews against local Palestinians.

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“The motivation to kidnap a soldier or civilian has always been high and now there might be more,” Kahane said. “The enemy understands that this would be a major success and therefore has set it as one of its objectives.”

In 2011, the IDF recorded 12 attempts to kidnap soldiers or settlers in the West Bank, and believes that following the deal to release Schalit in October and the release of some prisoners there, the threat has grown.

In December, several dozen settlers and right-wing activists infiltrated the Efraim Brigade base near Kedumim and hurled stones at several IDF vehicles.

Kahane said that he was on good terms with local settlers despite the attack and that the violence was not characteristic of the majority of Jewish West Bank residents. He added that the IDF made changes to the way it operates in the area and the way it protects the base to prevent similar attacks in the future.

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