JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli forces are searching for a Beersheba man who went missing near Hebron and is feared kidnapped.
The Israeli Defense Forces has launched a massive manhunt for the man, identified as Niv Asraf, 22, and set up checkpoints on nearby roads. Three Israeli teens were kidnapped and killed last summer near the same West Bank area.
Asraf reportedly entered the Palestinian village of Beit Anun, near Hebron, to get help after he and a friend became stranded with a flat tire. The friend called police after 4 p.m. to report Asraf missing, according to reports. But Haaretz reported that an unnamed police source said that there was no flat tire, leading to questions about why the men stopped.
The friend was taken in for questioning after questions arose about his story, Ynet reported.
An Israeli security source said “as more time passes, the serious concern for his life rises,” The Jerusalem Post reported. The official said Beit Anun is considered very hostile and a Hamas stronghold.