Military correspondent and defense analyst for Israeli paper Haaretz, Amos Harel, claims that the case of the missing three Israeli settlers is an abduction performed at a high level of planning and strict compartmentalization:’The operation reflects a level of planning and performance that is exceptional compared to previous abduction attempts. The attack is reminiscent of the carefully planned abduction of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border in 2006,’ he said.

According to a report by Al Ray, Harel believes that the ‘kidnappers’ received a gift they hadn’t expected — nearly six hours of total quiet before Israeli security forces launched a search operation.

There have been other serious attacks in the region which were never solved. To be noted are the killing of Givati soldier Gal ‘Gavriel’ Kobi, last October, and the killing of Israel Police Chief Supt. Baruch Mizrahi, on Passover eve, in April.

According to Harel, the two incidents show similar characteristics: ‘the doers prepared an escape route in advance and immediately went underground.’

No Palestinian faction has claimed the responsibility for the incident.

Emir Bouchbot, a correspondent for Walla’s website has quoted a senior Israeli army officer as saying that ‘the scenario that the army feared is that the kidnapping cell could hide in a secret bunker announcing the state of ‘temporary death’, giving the political leaders the chance to sign a swap deal with Israel.’

He alleges that the military wing of Hamas carried out the operation outside of the political level. However, the problem is keeping the abductees and holding negotiations at the same time.

Military analyst for Hayoum, Yoav Limor, had ruled out the possibility of attacking Hamas leaders in Gaza, saying that it would set off armed conflict in which Hamas rockets would target central Israel.

Media sources report that, in the last two days, Israel has now detained over 150 Palestinians in the West Bank, in its search for the three missing settlers.