Foiled Attack Was Fatah Kidnap Attempt
It was originally thought that a Palestinian terrorist at the Shilo Junction tried to stab 17-year-old Hillel Maeir of Beit El. The terrorist lifted his arm to stab Hillel, was shot by a bystander, then tried to pull out another knife, and was then shot again - this time to death.
It was later learned, as reported on WorldNetDaily.com (WND), that the knives were merely a means by which to "persuade" the intended victim to enter a car waiting nearby. So claim Fatah Al-Aqsa sources, in a talk with WND's Aaron Klein.
The victim was then either to be held as a kidnapped hostage - or murdered, as was Eliyahu Asheri, 18, who was abducted while hitchhiking in the area and shot shortly afterwards in June 2006.
Monday's attack was carried out by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a wing of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, according to information given WND by Al Aqsa representatives.
The attempted kidnapping occurred on the main Jerusalem-Binyamin-Samaria highway, between Ofrah and Eli, at a hitchhiking stop popularly used by Yesha residents - largely due to the infrequent public transportation services.
The security officer of Shilo, Avigdor Shatz, told Arutz-7 that he does not accept the Al Aqsa claim that they attempted to kidnap the Jewish youth. "It was an attempted stabbing, period," he told Arutz-7. He added that while attempts are underway to improve security along the Yesha highways, "in the meanwhile, it is irresponsible to stand along the main road and hitchhike. People must stand only within the communities themselves while waiting for rides."
Nearby Checkpoint Removed
The attack came just hours after Israel removed an anti-terror checkpoint, at the behest of visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, from the road to Rimonim just eight miles to the south. Residents say it leaves a clear route for terrorists to perpetrate attacks and escape to PA-controlled Jericho. In November 2002, Ettie Gealyah, a mother of seven, was killed in ambush shooting attack very close to that spot.
Shatz, who opposes the practice of hitchhiking in Yesha, was asked about the paucity of public transportation that necessitates waiting for rides. "There are many who pass up buses because they would rather hitch," he said. "We are installing cameras at the hitchhiking stations, and the army is working, but I call upon people not to wait for rides there. And to those who say that this is a cave-in to terrorism, I say: 'You don't have to face the parents of kids who were stabbed or attacked.'"
Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades is responsible for scores of recent suicide bombings and hundreds of deadly shootings in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, WND reports. Although Israel and the U.S. publicly consider Fatah to be a moderate force, the State Department considers Al Aqsa a terrorist group.