A source at the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) reported Monday night that its fighters abducted a settler in the West Bank. Abu Abeer, media spokesperson of the PRC, reported that his group will not reveal further information since it wants to use the abducted settler as a bargaining chip.
The Israeli Ynetnews reported that Mahmoud Abdul-Al, a spokesperson of the PRC, said that he will release more information on the incident later during the night.
The Ynetnews added that Abdul-Al said Palestinian armed factions are determined to continue their efforts of abductions in order to stop its military attacks in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The factions are also hoping Israel will begin a “true and significant” release of Palestinian detainees.
The Israel Army said it was aware of the announcement but could not yet confirm that a settler had been abducted, adding that they had received no reports of a kidnapping from settlers.
Settler leaders also said they are unaware of the incident.
Dozens of tanks, Anti Personnel Carriers, and heavy equipment along with soldiers from the Givati and Golani brigades arrived at the Gaza border area Monday morning after an Israeli tank commander and second lieutenant were killed and another abducted Sunday morning when Palestinian fighters attacked a military post near Kerem Shalom Crossing, in the souther part of the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinian fighters were killed in the attack.
A statement released Sunday by the three Palestinian armed groups claiming responsibility for the attack demanded Israel to release all women and children detainees in Israeli prisons in exchange for information about the soldier who was abducted during the attack.
The three factions are the Al Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, and a new group calling itself the Army of Islam.
In a pamphlet sent to local Gaza media outlets Monday, the three factions said that they will not reveal any information on the abducted Israeli soldier until Israel releases all women and child prisoners “because they are held in violation principles of human rights”.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Monday evening to discuss the current situation and the recent military escalation in the area.
A source at Haniyya’s office reported that Haniyya received a phone call from the Pope and the two discussed the latest developments in the area.
Haniyya also received a phone call from the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on the same issue. Haniyya told Gul that his government is interested in stability and is conducting all needed efforts to prevent any further escalation.