A month after abducted soldier Gilad Shalit was released and amid fears that terrorists are planning further kidnappings, the IDF is planning to increase the frequency of its exercises and stage the kidnapping of a soldier once a month.
According to a report on the IDF website on Tuesday, the monthly “kidnapping exercises” will begin next month, and the military is also considering distributing tear gas to male soldiers so they can resist a kidnapping attempt. Presently, only female soldiers are given tear gas.
The decision was made in a recent special session chaired by the Deputy Chief of Staff. It was made in light of increased warnings about terrorists’ intentions to kidnap soldiers and due to explicit threats to that effect by terrorist organizations.
“There are quite a few warnings about it, and after the release of Gilad Shalit, the various terrorist organizations announced that they will increase their attempts to kidnap a soldier,” Brigadier-General Meir Ohana, Commander of the Military Police Corps, told the IDF website.
In addition, the report said, the IDF is also planning to increase the punishment for soldiers caught hitchhiking, which is prohibited.
Last week, the Israeli army held a wide-scale exercise which included a mock report of kidnapping at an army checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. The “victim” was kidnapped and taken to Shechem, in northern Samaria.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas joined Hamas last month in stating that kidnapping and holding Shalit as hostage for more than five years was “successful" because it brought about the release of the first batch of 1,027 terrorists to be freed by Israel. Nearly 500 were released in the first stage of the agreement, and the others are to be set freed next month.