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Did Leftists Try to Divert Army's Attention from Kidnappers?

Residents of a Hevron-area town suspect that leftists tried to help kidnappers of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 6/15/2014, 5:21 PM

Leftist 'activists' in Avigail
Leftist 'activists' in Avigail
Avigail spokesperson

Residents of a Hevron-area town suspect that radical leftist groups tried to “lend a hand” to the kidnappers of three Israeli teens Saturday, when they entered a town in the southern Hevron Hills and began taking photos and video of homes in the town, forcing IDF soldiers to leave off the search for the missing teens and shoo away the “activists.”

The incident occurred in the small town of Avigail, which does not have a fence around it. The leftists and Arabs ventured past a line that they were told not to cross, into the municipal jurisdiction of the town. They took photos of homes and residents, and videotaped the activity in the town.

Confronted by residents, the group demanded that they leave, but the “activists” refused, prompting residents to call police. They in turn alerted the army, which dispatched a task force to deal with the group and force them to leave.

The timing of the “invasion” struck one resident of the town, Elisha Medan, as strange.

“You would think that for at least this week, with IDF soldiers tied up as they are in searching for the missing teens, that the 'activists' would take a week off. But instead the army was forced to allocate four jeeps, as well as several senior offices, to deal with the group. Thus they damaged the efforts to find the kidnapped youths.

“They have not been here in recent months, but interestingly they picked just this week to 'visit' our location,” said Meidan. “I don't see how you could not attribute this to efforts to help out the kidnappers,” he added.

Trying to disrupt rescue efforts

After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statement confirming that the missing students - Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Gilad Sha'ar- had indeed been kidnapped, both Hamas and Fatah called on activists and local Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria to work to disrupt the IDF's search as much as possible.

On Friday, Hamas spokesman Hassan Badran broke the group's silence by issuing a call to Arabs in Judea and Samaria to obstruct the Israeli effort to find the boys, who he referred to as "Israeli soldiers", despite the fact that they were unarmed teenage students.

Later, Fatah and Hamas activists both issued calls to residents of Hevron - where the abducted teens are believed to be held - to destroy any CCTV footage they have which could help the Israeli search.

Meanwhile, in Hamas-ruled Gaza, public celebrations were held Friday over news of the kidnapping.

On Sunday, Netanyahu revealed that Hamas was the group behind the kidnapping - an accusation he repeated again after the Islamist terrorist group denied involvement.