(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The wave of unsubstantiated rumors on social networking led police to issue a call to the public imploring them to trust only official statements posted on the police Facebook page.
In a statement on Monday afternoon, police said: “Following the security escalation in recent days, on social networks we are seeing rumors and different announcements warning the public about potential hazards.
We wish to clarify that if there is any reason to warn you about dangers, we will make sure to do so on our official Facebook page.”
One of the announcements that circled Israeli social networks on Monday, mainly on WhatsApp, said that 4,000 IDF reservists had received call-up orders and were preparing for a major operation in Gaza to last several weeks.
On Monday afternoon Sharon region police sent out a text message to reporters calling on them to advise the public to be wary of warnings posted online or on WhatsApp. They then posted as an example one of the false messages, which read that the market in the Arab town of Tira had been declared a closed military area and that civilians are strongly advised not to enter the area because there are plans to bomb the market and/or kidnap Israeli civilians from there.
The prevalence of rumors on Israeli social networking has been a major headache for police and the army since the three Israeli teens were kidnapped on June 12. These included false reports that the three had been saved in a rescue operation by the IDF and Shin Bet, which circled the country on the morning after the kidnapping, as well as another report reading that the three teens had been murdered, days before their bodies were actually found.