Soldier allegedly fakes abduction

Suspected of telling police he was abducted to cover for tardiness.

An Israeli soldier who was late to his base Wednesday is suspected of calling police to say that he had been kidnapped, police said. The soldier allegedly phoned Tel Aviv police three times in the morning to report an abduction in the Herzliya area, even relating the license plates of the car which had "kidnapped" him. The soldier, who is suspected of fabricating the story to cover up for his tardiness, was arrested later in the day. The prank, which triggered a brief police manhunt, including the dispatch of a police helicopter in the area, comes as security officials were on heightened alert over intelligence information that Palestinian gunmen were planning to abduct additional IDF soldiers, and as Israeli forces were fighting a two-front battle against Hizbullah in Lebanon and against Hamas in Gaza. The vehicle said to have been involved in the bogus abduction was later found in the south of the country. The soldier's name was not released for publication pending his arraignment in court. Three Israeli soldiers have been kidnapped over the last month, one near the border with Gaza and the other two by Israel's northern border with Lebanon.