Israeli military sources reported on Tuesday afternoon that the teenage settler who went missing since Sunday might be in the hands of Palestinian resistance fighters as some armed groups reported. The missing settler is from Beitar Illit settlement, near Bethlehem.
The sources added that the they received certain information from the Palestinian side in recent hours about the abduction, but added that there are no unequivocal intelligence information to back this conclusion.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) said earlier on Tuesday that his group had abducted an Israeli settler.
The PRC is the group that abducted Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, after attacking a military post near the Gaza border earlier this week.
The settler in question in Eliyahu Asheri, 18; he was reported missing since Sunday, and the Israeli police had been examining a possible connection between the missing settler report and the fighters’ abduction statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, a senior Israeli military official said that Palestinian fighters said that they will present documents belonging to the abducted settler.
“If they present these documents, then we will be able to judge the accuracy of the report”, the official added.
Later in the day, and after intelligence developments, the police and security forces started to take the affair seriously and began questioning the course-mates of the missing settler. Asheri’s description were submitted to Israeli police and security officers in the West Bank.
The Israeli army has also been in contact with the Asheri family and is trying to verify the information they have received.
Initial reports, which were not immediately verified, indicate that Asheri set out Sunday evening to hitchhike from the settlement of Beitar Illit, southwest of Bethlehem, in the direction of the Neveh Tzuf settlement, northwest of Ramallah, where he was completing a course.
Meanwhile, Israeli security sources said that they were aware the members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Breslav sect were planing to infiltrate into Nablus to visit Joseph’s Tomb. Under Israeli regulations, Israelis are not allowed into the Palestinian areas.
The army refused to allow the settlers conduct the visit, but Breslav followers declared that they would attempt to reach the tomb regardless of the military orders.
Tuesday afternoon, an Arab Israeli driver said that he saw a “man with long hair being taken away out of a vehicle, near the Palestinian village of Jeet, west of Nablus.