As civilians, soldiers increasingly enter Palestinian territories, IDF reminds of kidnapping threat -
A relatively quiet period in the Palestinian territories has drawn Israeli civilians and military personnel to do their shopping there again – prompting concerns about potential kidnappings, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
According to sources in the IDF's Central Command, the number of Israelis entering the West Bank over the past few months has increased dramatically. Over the past six months alone, 31 civilians and 18 career officers entered the Palestinian Authority.
The IDF stressed that despite the impression of safety generated by the release of Gilad Shalit, a soldier who spent five years in Hamas captivity before being freed in a prisoner swap in October – the threat of abduction remains very much real. The army has warned it would harshly penalize any solider entering PA territory.
The IDF launched an advertising campaign on Sunday warning troops to take precautions in order to avoid abductions. The project is one step in multi-year plan formed by the army last year in light of intelligence data indicating planned kidnapping attempts.
The primary concern focuses on soldiers being snatched while hitchhiking. The campaign's posters, which are to be hung in military bases, train stations and on the streets, feature a photo of a soldier held captive, accompanied by a slogan warning troops that if they attempt to a hitch ride, they could get kidnapped. Video clips of similar nature are also to circulate on the web.
"This is the first campaign of it kind that we have launched in many years," IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said. "Our goal is to instigate change in the soldiers' travel habits."
Photo: Still from anti-hitchhiking IDF campaign
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