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August 08, 2003 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ALL RAND PAlit

L*31"

Olga Sheichat grieves during the funeral of her son Oleg Sheichat, a corporal with
the Israeli army who was kidnapped.

New Threat

As suicide bombings abate, Israelis
worry about kidnappings.

GIL SEDAN
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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month into the cease-fire
declared by Palestinian ter-
rorist groups, the fear of
suicide bombers has been
replaced by fear of kidnappers.
. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
repeatedly has warned soldiers not to
hitchhike, young lovers to avoid isolat-
ed places and parents to think twice
before letting their children out at
night. As for protecting government
officials, the security belt around
Cabinet ministers is as tight as ever.
Concern has intensified following
the abduction last month of taxi driver
Eliahu Gurel — who was rescued from
Ramallah in an operation by Israel
Defense Forces commandos— and the
murder of soldier Oleg Sheichat, who
was abducted in the Galilee.
This week, authorities were searching
for two missing teenagers: Dana
Bennet, 18, a waitress from Tiberias,
who disappeared on July 31, and a 19-
year-old American yeshiva student
studying in Jerusalem, who disap-
peared Aug. 3.
The security forces often have
warned that terrorists might try to kid-
nap Israeli soldiers and civilians in
order to try to trade them as pawns for

large numbers of Palestinian prisoners
held in Israel. The warnings take on
extra weight as Israel and the
Palestinians tussle over the release of
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Israel on Aug. 6 released 339 prison-
ers, but the Palestinian Authority is
demanding that Israel release thou-
sands. In addition, the releases will not
cover Israeli Arabs involved in terror-
ism.
The impasse has increased frustra-
tion and rage among families of
Palestinian terrorists and among Israeli
Arabs, creating the motivation for kid-
nappings, security officials warn.
However, in the cases of Gurel and
Sheichat, the kidnappers did not seri-
ously try to negotiate a deal for
Palestinian prisoners.

Linked Cases?

In the case .of Gurel, the kidnappers
demanded the release of prisoners but
soon reverted to demanding ransom —
and eventually got nothing. In the case
of Sheichat, no contact was made
between kidnappers and authorities—
probably because the kidnappers killed
the soldier shortly after abducting him.
In the cases still open, Bennet disap-
peared on a Thursday night shortly
after leaving a cab that drove her home
from the restaurant where she works.

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