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IDF Operating in Ramallah, Possible Asheri Kidnapper Arrested

by Ezra HaLevi Arutz Sheva June 28, 2006

IDF forces are operating in Ramallah in an effort to find 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri from Itamar. Residents of Kiryat Arba and Kedumim blocked roads to PA Arabs in protest of the kidnapping.

IDF soldiers surrounded the offices of a Fatah terrorist organization in Ramallah Wednesday afternoon. One of his suspected kidnappers may have been captured and is being interrogated.

A Palestinian Authority terror group affiliated with Hamas – the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) – has been claiming to hold Asheri, who has been missing since Sunday. Analysts familiar with the PA terror structure, however, suggest that the PRC in Gaza was providing cover for Fatah in Samaria, which actually carried out the kidnapping.

Fatah is headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). His group’s involvement in hostage-taking in Samaria would prove damaging to efforts by the US, EU and Olmert government to portray the PLO chairman as a reliable alternative to Hamas.

Elsewhere Wednesday, an Israeli motorist was the target of a shooting attack by Arab terrorists while driving through Hawara, in Samaria. The attack occurred near a local gas station. No injuries were reported.

Three Arabs were killed in Khan Younis, in Gaza, when a bomb they were constructing in a residential house blew up ahead of schedule. Another such “work accident” took place Tuesday inside an Arab car in Gaza City, killing one.

The Red Dawn missile alert system sounded Wednesday evening in the western Negev as two more Kassam rockets were fired toward Jewish towns in the region. None of the rockets hit any residential areas.

In Kiryat Arba, near Hevron, residents blocked the main highway to Arab traffic in protest of the fact that PA residents continue to travel freely on Israeli-built bypass roads despite the wave of terror attacks and kidnappings, while Jewish residents are being told to refrain from hitchhiking outside their communities. In Kedumim, in the Shomron, residents also blocked the road to Arab traffic.

The actions by the Hevron and Kedumim residents come in the wake of Asheri’s kidnapping, apparently as he waited for a ride at a hitchhiking post or bus stop, which was preceded by an attempted kidnapping of two Jewish girls by the roadside in Samaria and a successful kidnapping of an American Jewish student last month.

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