Jihad: PA security forces thwarted kidnapping

Palestinian police save IDF major from lynch mob after officer accidentally ends up in Jenin.

jenin idf jeep 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
jenin idf jeep 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Islamic Jihad lashed out at the Palestinian Authority security personnel who rescued an IDF major from a lynch mob in Jenin on Monday, saying that their actions prevented the group from kidnapping the Israeli officer. "We were successful in trapping a uniformed Israeli officer," a statement released by the group read. "We were surprised when [PA security forces] thwarted our efforts by surrounding us and taking control of the soldier. In a matter of minutes, four IDF jeeps arrived at the scene and were given the soldier." The Islamic Jihad statement further condemned the PA security forces, saying that they should work to protect the "Palestinian people instead of soldiers of the Occupation." The officer in question, a major in the IDF's central command, narrowly escaped the lynching after he accidentally entered the Palestinian town of Jenin, in northern Samaria, earlier Monday. The officer, a staff officer at Central Command headquarters, was traveling from the settlement of Shavei Shomron to Mevo Dotan when he accidentally made a wrong turn and found himself driving unarmed and in uniform in downtown Jenin. After coming under a hail of stones, the officer was pulled out of his car by a Palestinian mob. Seconds later, Palestinian policemen arrived at the scene and rescued the officer, who they evacuated to the nearby Mukata government building. Senior Central Command officers said that the officer was very close to meeting the same fate as two reservists who were lynched and beaten to death after accidentally entering Ramallah in October 2000. On Tuesday morning Army Radio reported that the officer was acting against regulations by traveling along a road that according to protocol could only be driven on in a convoy. "He was very lucky since this could have ended much differently," Lt.-Col. Fareis Atilee, head of the Jenin-area IDF Liaison office, told The Jerusalem Post. "It was not far from turning into the same outcome as the Ramallah lynch." Atilee praised the PA police's quick and responsible response. Atilee added that he had received a phone call at 12:30 p.m. that an IDF officer - unarmed and in uniform - was in Jenin. "We began coordinating his rescue with the PA and at the same time sent large forces to the city in the event that we would need to save him," he recalled, adding that the quick coordination between the IDF and the PA was made possible due to the recent change in Israeli policy vis a vis the Palestinian government in Ramallah led by Salaam Fayad. "There is better coordination today due to the change in Israeli policy and the Palestinians did what they needed to do," he said. "They also did what was in their interest." Meanwhile, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) criticized the IDF, saying the events in Jenin only serve to highlight IDF abuses against Palestinians. "IDF is shooting and wounding Palestinian citizens and the PA risks lives to save a soldier. This is food for thought for the general public." Tibi was quoted as saying.