(JTA) — Palestinian militants are stepping up efforts to abduct Israeli soldiers, according to data released by the Israel Defense Forces.
A total of 27 attempts to abduct an Israeli soldier have been foiled so far in 2012, Haaretz reported. The figure constitutes a doubling of such cases compared to the first six months of 2012, an unnamed military source told the newspaper.
One of the most serious attempts was in January. The source described the putative perpetrators, belonging to the Islamic Jihad terrorist group, as “highly prepared.” They were arrested at a checkpoint in a car with equipment for the kidnapping.
Seven other abduction teams were defined as “possessing a medium level of preparedness,” while the other 19 suspects had a “low level.”
“Most teams were affiliated with Hamas, but the idea of abducting a soldier is common in most organizations,” an unnamed senior officer told Haaretz. “These organizations know that to free their people from prison they need a soldier.”
In 2011, Israel released more than 1,000 prisoners convicted of terrorism or related activities in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped in 2006 by a team of terrorists from Hamas and two other organizations.