Border policemen check cars 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The IDF on Thursday night allayed suspicions that a soldier was kidnapped after all soldiers were said to be accounted for at the end of a protracted roll call.
The Central region was brought to a standstill for several hours as police set up roadblocks on all the main roads around Ben-Gurion Airport and leading into the West Bank, following the eyewitness account that a soldier had been kidnapped in the area.
The IDF also beefed up roadblocks along the Green Line and inspected all cars crossing into the West Bank.
The army immediately initiated an emergency procedure roll call throughout all active units, including reservists, after a female soldier who was getting off a bus near an air force base outside the airport told her commanders that she had seen two civilians forcefully pushing a soldier into a car and then fleeing the scene. She was some distance from the scene she had witnessed, officials said, noting that she had passed a lie-detector test.
The IDF reviewed the reliability of the soldier's testimony - the only eyewitness account - while police scrambled helicopters to join ground units trying to prevent the alleged kidnappers from fleeing the region. By the evening, almost all soldiers had been accounted for.
In late evening, according to Palestinian security sources, searches took place at the entrances to Hebron, with hundreds of cars stopped and drivers' identities checked. The main entrance to Kalkilya was also blocked.
During the day, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported that a group calling itself the Al-Quds Army had claimed responsibility for the reported capture.
"A group of our resistance fighters captured an Israeli soldier near Ben-Gurion Airport and withdrew with the soldier without incident... We will provide details about the captured soldier later," a statement sent to Ma'an said.
Heavy traffic jams were reported on Route 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as on Route 443, which crosses the West Bank and links Modi'in to Jerusalem. Heavy traffic jams were also reported on Route 6, which borders the West Bank.