Palestinians terrorists kidnap Israeli

Monday, July 14, 2003

TEL AVIV Palestinian insurgents have abducted an Israeli national in what is assumed to be a plan to win the release of thousands of their colleagues in Israeli prisons.

Israeli officials said Palestinian officials have provided information about an Israeli taxi driver missing since late Friday and now believed to have been kidnapped and held in the Ramallah area of the West Bank. The officials said the driver was probably being held by unspecified Palestinian insurgents.

The abduction took place as Israeli authorities warned of fresh alerts of a Palestinian attack, Middle East Newsline reported. Israeli radio stations warned Israelis not to enter PA-controlled areas. Officials said Israel has received help from the Palestinian Authority in the search for the taxi driver. They said the PA has relayed intelligence regarding the abduction.

Israeli authorities have been warning soldiers and civilians that they could become the target of Palestinian abductions. Palestinian insurgency groups, many of which have declared a ceasefire, have demanded the release of about 7,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons.

Officials said Israeli security forces found the taxi of Eliyahu Gurel in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Bet Hanina. They said Gurel telephoned his home on Saturday and told his family "I'm okay."

Israeli troops have conducted a search for the taxi driver in the Palestinian villages around Jerusalem. So far, no breakthrough has been reported and an Israeli court has banned the publication of additional details.

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