Police and military sources have denied rumors that an Israeli soldier was kidnapped this week.
Israel Radio reported on Tuesday that an anonymous caller had phoned the radio’s Arabic news department claiming that the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement had kidnapped a soldier by the name of Ilan Mordecai on Tuesday morning,
The caller added that the soldier would be killed by 9 p.m. if Israel did not release some 500 Hamas prisoners, according to the report.
Israeli security officials launched an investigation after they were informed of the call.
Later in the day, Moledet Knesset member Yosef BaGad announced at the Knesset podium that he had information that an Israeli soldier had been kidnapped from the French Hill neighborhood in Jerusalem.
“A soldier has been kidnapped,” he said. “I have his name written down here, but I won’t say who it is, since his family has not yet been notified.”
BaGad’s comments were broadcast live on cable television. They drew angry responses from the floor of the Knesset, and Knesset Speaker Shevach Weiss criticized BaGad for exploiting his time at the podium to make what Weiss called an unsubstantiated and irresponsible statement.
Meanwhile, an army spokesman issued a statement that investigations were continuing, but that no proof of a kidnapping, nor of the existence of a soldier by that name, had been found.