Missing Israeli worker found alive

Found dazed, injured at nearby kibbutz; cause of disappearance unknown.

Zadikov 298 88 Ch 2 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Zadikov 298 88 Ch 2
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Searchers located a missing factory worker who disappeared from his work at Kibbutz Snir earlier Wednesday, sparking fears that he had been kidnapped by terrorists. Kiryat Shmona resident Michael Zadikov, 45, was found at neighboring Kibbutz Dan, only a kilometer from the Lebanese border, dazed and injured. The forklift on which he was working had been discovered unmanned, running with blood spots on it. Earlier, Zadikov had reported that he saw suspicious people near the area in which he was working. Large forces of IDF and police combed the area throughout the night, but no signs had been found indicating that anyone had infiltrated the nearby border. Kibbutz Snir is located in the far eastern end of the Upper Galilee and, together with Kibbutz Dan, is one of the two closest communities to the Mount Dov sector, which has seen repeated attempts by Hizbullah terrorists to kidnap IDF troops. Bedouin gangs have also been active recently in the area, preying on kibbutz factories and searching for scrap metal, but no acts of violence have been associated with these robbery attempts. The police said that they were checking all possibile directions in their investigation of Zadikov's disappearance. In November, Hizbullah launched a large-scale attack against the far eastern sector of the Israel-Lebanon border, targeting the areas immediately around Kibbutz Snir, one of a chain of kibbutzim and moshavs strung along the border. That attack began with a massive barrage directed against IDF posts on Mount Dov in the afternoon. It quickly spread westward. Shortly after the initial barrage, IDF troops prevented an attempt to infiltrate an outpost on Mount Dov, killing at least one gunman. An officer and soldier were seriously wounded in this apparently botched kidnapping attempt. An unspecified number of soldiers were also lightly wounded in the gun battle. In nearby Rajar, a village of Alawite Muslims located in Israel, Hizbullah gunmen rode in on motorcycles and all- terrain vehicles (ATVs), Army Radio reported. They opened fire on a building housing the local council. IDF forces intercepted the gunmen and returned fire, killing three. As gun battles continued around Rajar, the mortar barrages moved westward, targeting Metulla and Kibbutzim Ma'ayan Baruch and Snir. Hizbullah later extended the fighting across the entire northern border, as mortars landed near the western towns of Nahariya and Shlomi. Even as sporadic attacks on the Israel-Lebanon border in the problematic eastern sector continued, the IDF announced in January that its soldiers would no longer continue doing guard duty in communities on the border with Lebanon. There was no explanation for the move, which triggered much anger in the communities affected The IDF later rescinded the threat to remove the guards.