IDF Treating Israeli’s Disappearance Near Chevron As Kidnapping


search-chevronIDF and police forces are searching Thursday night in the Chevron area in the West Bank for a missing Israeli man feared kidnapped.

Israeli security forces were first alerted to the man’s disappearance when his friend called the police at 4:17 pm, saying he and his friend were stranded with a flat tire on their way to daven at the Meoras Hamacheilah, Ynet reports. The caller said his friend went to find tools to replace the tire but never returned.

However, when the IDF arrived at the scene, it found no flat tires in the vehicle and after other questions arose from the friend’s story, he was taken for questioning.

“The circumstances remain unclear on whether this was a criminal or nationalistically-motivated incident,” IDF Spokesman Moti Almoz said on Thursday night, according to Ynet.

“As more time passes, more information arises, and that’s why these are critical hours,” Almoz added. “We’re treating this as a kidnapped person whose situation is unknown… we’re working under the assumption he’s alive.”

Concerns were raised after some of the missing man’s possessions disappeared. The friend said the missing man was wearing a KKL hoodie and a pair of jeans.

Large IDF forces from the Judea and Samaria division were deployed to the area to search for the missing man, including Special Unit soldiers. The troops were searching houses and cars in Bayt Einun.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and GOC Central Command Roni Numa held a special situation assessment on Thursday evening.

Police and the Shin Bet was gathering intelligence in order to ascertain whether or not the man had been kidnapped. This area is not far from where the three Israeli yeshiva students were kidnapped last summer.

The army closed roads around Bayt Einun on Highway 60 and Highway 35 as part of the search effort.

“We didn’t suspect something like this could happen, it came out of the blue,” Meir Peretz, the missing Israeli’s cousin, said on Thursday evening. “I’m asking the people of Israel to pray a lot. A moment before Passover, the holiday of freedom, we need our cousin free, healthy, in one piece and with us. Wherever he is, let him come back healthy and in one piece,” he said.

{Ynet News Israel, Israel}